Cucumber festival gains positive community feedback

Lea Valley growers' bid to boost confidence in the salad sector following this summer's E. coli crisis have been a great success.

Cucumber and pepper growers in the region held the first ever Great British Cucumber Festival on 17 September in Waltham Abbey, Hertfordshire.

Abbey View Produce technical director Stephen Hedderly, who was on the festival organising committee, said: "It was a well-attended event with some 2,500 people. What this has proved to us is that there are so many people on our doorstep who do not realise how important it is for glasshouse production."

"People were astonished to hear that we produce three million cucumbers a week. Linking this fact with the community was our number one objective and that was achieved."

He added: "The growers in this area are really pleased with what has happened. At last cucumbers are being seen as they should be - in a positive light.

"There is a huge call for us to do it again and we have already held a meeting to discuss next year's event."

Lea Valley Growers Association chairman Gary Taylor said: "This was the first of what we hope will be an annual event.

"As well as drawing a huge number of visitors that exceeded our expectations, a surprising and really pleasing outcome has been how well the festival brought the whole community and businesses together - all under the banner of the humble cucumber."

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