UK Dyson Farming x Berry Gardens strawberries

Dyson Farming, a member of the UK’s leading berry and stonefruit production and marketing co-operative Berry Gardens, has picked the first strawberries from its new hi-tech glasshouse in Carrington, Lincolnshire.

This means the British strawberry-growing season now runs for nine months, from mid-March until almost the end of November.

Powered with renewable electricity and heat from an adjacent anaerobic digester, the giant Dyson Farming glasshouse covers six-hectares. It is 424m long with 832 rows of strawberries, 700,000 strawberry plants and will eventually produce 750 tonnes of strawberries each year for British consumers.

Berry Gardens provided Dyson Farming with industry leading and specialist genetics, technical and marketing support services to help bring the first Dyson strawberries to market.

Thirty years ago, the British strawberry season typically lasted about six weeks, but thanks to investment in sustainable technology and glasshouse production, Berry Garden growers, on average, are able supply berries 42 weeks/year.

For Dyson Farming this is the next step in producing quality British produce from sustainable farming practices and technological innovation, which is at the heart of the farming operation established by James Dyson. Its glasshouse lengthens the British strawberry season by growing strawberries at a time of year, early spring and late Autumn, when traditionally British strawberries are in very short supply, helping to make the country more self-sufficient.

As Ben Wills, head of estate at Dyson Farming explains: “Building a glasshouse of this scale that utilises the heat and energy from the AD plant to grow top quality sustainable British strawberries beyond the traditional season, all within a year, is a great achievement by the team.

'And we will not stop here. The site allows us to continue to innovate into the future, incorporating new technologies and practices. The increasingly symbiotic relationship between technology and farming should, I hope, yield novel approaches to sustainable production and improved performance.”

Nick Allen, chief executive officer at Berry Gardens adds: “We are privileged to be working with pioneering growers, including Dyson Farming, who have a reputation for world-class innovation and technological advancement. Likewise, as a business we strive to support our members with industry-leading research, genetics & expertise to allow growers to continue to produce and bring to market the very best quality and tasting fresh berries.

“We’re sure it is only a matter of time before Dyson Farming’s tech know-how and our genetics know-how will combine to give British retailers, and ultimately British shoppers, berries of the highest standard all year round.”

As a grower-owned co-operative, Berry Gardens distributes all profits after costs back to grower members allowing growers like Dyson Farming to continue to reinvest in technology and infrastructure to improve the quality of the British strawberry season.

Berry Gardens Growers Ltd was formed in 1972 and is now the UK’s largest soft and stone fruit grower-owned co-operative supplying a large percentage of the nation’s berries and cherries.

Dyson Farming (formerly known as Beeswax Dyson Farming) is a large-scale, commercial farming business growing wheat, peas, potatoes, onions, sugar beet, maize, barley, oil seed rape as well as rearing sheep and cattle. It also produces sustainable energy for the equivalent of 10,000 homes and has 200 tenanted properties across the estate.