Vegetable Grower of the Year 2010: MH Poskitt

MH Poskitt is a family-owned Yorkshire-based farming company with 50 years' experience in carrot growing and packing. Describing their business as "proud and progressive", the Poskitt family specialises in growing, packing and distributing organic and conventional carrots across the UK.

The business supplies direct to major multiples, wholesalers and vegetable preparers on a daily basis and boasts a commitment to research — making it one of the most innovative in the industry.

Most recently, that innovation has taken the company in two directions. First, the creation of a prepared vegetable operation, and second, the creation of a Scottish prepared vegetable operation for the supply of Scottish-grown product north of the border.

The first steps towards the production of a range of prepared vegetables — washed, graded, peeled and processed all on one site at the farm — started with investment in a reconditioned potato processing line, which was then adapted to handle carrots, and the purchase of a vertical form fill machine to pack the finished product.

Today the company has invested more than £2m in a modern and efficient factory to produce a whole range of products.

As a result, investment sales have soared to almost £5m per annum.

On-farm processing, meanwhile, has ensured a reduction in road miles and the retention of the freshness of the product.

Following the success of its prepared vegetable operations, the business focused on the development of a Scottish operation to produce regional and local prepared produce and to promote this for the benefit of local growers.

The operation was launched through one of MH Poskitt's existing Scottish growers, Phillip Benzie, who had been growing carrots for the company for more than four years.

This second development has been a huge success, giving Scottish consumers Scottish-grown product that has been washed and packed in Scotland. The initiative has reduced food miles and has lowered the carbon footprint of the product.

 

FINALISTS Marshalls Farm Team; Alfred Pearce

SPONSOR Rijk Zwaan is one of the leading companies producing seeds for the vegetable sector, supporting the industry with new developments and techniques. As well as being proud sponsor of the Salads Grower of the Year, Rijk Zwaan also supports the sector with a total needs and services concept helping the whole chain.


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