Edibles Grower of the Year - Winner: Place UK

Place UK has become one of the UK's leading growers and processors of soft fruits for major British supermarkets including Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's and the Co-Op.

Edibles Grower of the Year - Winner Place UK
Edibles Grower of the Year - Winner Place UK

As part of the UK's biggest soft-fruit marketing group, Berry Gardens, it sells around three million punnets of fresh strawberries and 2.5 million punnets of raspberries.

It is also the UK's largest individually quick frozen fresh produce supplier, passing fruit through accredited freezing tunnels within hours of picking before being delivered to manufacturers, retailers and catering businesses.

Employing integrated crop management on its farms, Place UK uses cover crops to fertilise and structure the soil as well as beetle banks and other measures to attract friendly predators to help control pests. It is currently undertaking groundbreaking research on the use of pheromone traps for strawberry weevil and raspberry beetle.

The company also carefully monitors plant inputs to ensure maximum efficiency and has won two awards from the Environment Agency - for irrigation monitoring and scheduling and for the amount of water it recycles.

Audited by various leading bodies such as LEAF, Assured Produce, CMi and the Soil Association for its organic produce, Place UK operates worldwide traceability, provenance and quality-assurance procedures throughout its procurement programmes.

Its workforce of up to 650 staff includes many overseas students keen to learn modern growing and management practices. The firm has been awarded Tesco's "best employee facilities" certificate in recognition of its accommodation, health, welfare and social facilities for foreign workers. Last October Place UK was ranked at number 23 in The Grocer's Fast 50 listing of trend-setting and fast-growing food and drink suppliers.


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