Grower pushes mixed vegetable pack for retailers

West Sussex-based Almodington Nurseries has said it hopes that the mixed vegetable pack could be the next big thing in garden centres.

Owner Chris Wade said the pack could prolong the grow-your-own boom by giving gardeners a greater variety of vegetable at a better price, rather than having a glut of the same variety.

Wade set up in 1982. He grows at four sites under 3.6ha of glass and is Soil Association accredited. Almodington went peat-free in 2008. It supplies big herb companies and many retailers.

"Mixed packs of veg are designed to get people into veg growing," Wade explained. "Instead of 12 of the same lettuce you get three lots of four different ones. Three different varieties are better than 12 of the same."

Wade is trialling packs of lettuce, Brassica and Chinese vegetables sown using Kings Seeds and big garden centre groups have already shown interest. He said he hoped to sell tens of thousands of packs at retail prices of around £2.49.

The organic market grew massively, from nothing in 2003 to being huge in 2010, but levelled out this year, he pointed out. In 2011 it "may go back a bit just because of price".

He added: "You always get hardcore people who will buy and are prepared to pay a bit more but ordinary people, once they are tight for money, will cut back."


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