Thanet Earth harvests first UK cucumbers of the 2011 season

Thanet Earth has staked its claim as the first UK grower to harvest cucumbers this year. A&A Growers, which owns and operates the cucumber greenhouse at Thanet Earth in Broadstairs, Kent, picked its first fruits on 24 January.

The cucumbers went on sale in selected Tesco stores served by the Snodland depot in Kent. The growers installed the baby plants just before Christmas - once the greenhouse had been thoroughly cleaned from the previous season.

The plants grew quickly and effectively, largely thanks to the glasshouses' natural light levels - the cucumber greenhouse is not equipped with artificial lighting - and the big, open skies of Thanet region.

A representative for the company said: "This natural light, combined with the high greenhouses, the growers' high wire growing technique, the warmth provided by the plants' combined heat and power units - and of course our expert growers - are what sets Thanet Earth apart from its UK rivals."

Volumes were expected to be relatively low for the first couple of weeks, but the company said it expects to see production levels quickly reach consistent volumes.

New cucumber plants will be planted twice more through this year to maintain a constant supply and quality fruit. At peak production, Thanet Earth's weekly cucumber harvest exceeds 700,000 fruits.

Thanet Earth is a joint venture between the Fresca Group of companies and three specialist grower companies.

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