Defra secretary Hilary Benn praises Winchester Growers on Cornwall trip

Defra secretary of state Hilary Benn has praised Winchester Growers' water management system after visiting the nursery's Penzance operation on a fact-finding trip to Cornwall.

Benn visited Varfell Farm to see Agapanthus and Dahlia growing in the field, its bulb packaging process and its environmental schemes such as tackling silt run-off from the fields.

He then moved onto the Tregothnan estate to visit tea plantation and see manuka honey production — the first outside New Zealand, and finally to the Eden Project.

He said: "I'm really impressed by what I've seen at Winchester Growers — the care, the professionalism, the quality of the product. I know it's been affected by the recession because it is effectively a discretionary purchase.

"It's a chance to see what's happening and some of the cutting-edge work that's being done. I am particularly impressed [with Winchester Growers] by the way the problem of silt was addressed — putting in ponds and a reed bed — and the way in which the firm is dealing with the reduction of pesticide and insecticide use."


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