New multi-million pound investment in onion store at Chatteris extends product life and quality

Produce World expanding store

Produce World expanding store - Credit: Archant

An extended domestic season and better overall quality are key benefits from the recently-built Greenshoots onion store at Chatteris.

Produce World expanding store

Produce World expanding store - Credit: Archant

Marc Heading, who farms in the Chatteris area, is one of five members of Greenshoots which grows around 20,000 tonnes of onions every year for Produce World.

He said the multi-million pound investment in the store marks a big step forward for the group.

He said: “We had been supplying out of bulk stores on-farm and many of these needed updating. We want to continue to grow and develop our business, and we saw an opportunity to build a state-of-the-art facility on the doorstep of Produce World’s factory at Chatteris which we decided to grasp with both hands.

“The store we have built gives us the best drying facilities, the best refrigeration, and the most efficient insulation.

Marc Heading

Marc Heading - Credit: Archant

“The result is that we can store and transport our onions more efficiently. This store should extend the season for UK onions by at least three weeks, which will reduce the need for imports. It will also improve the quality of onions going into the factory.”

The new store is capable of holding around 6,500 tonnes – the equivalent of six-and-a-half million kilogramme bags – which is around a third of the cooperative’s total onion production.

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Around 60 per cent of the onions stored are brown and 40 per cent red. Members of the Greenshoots cooperative have been working with Produce World for up to 25 years.

Matt Starbuck of Produce World said: “Greenshoots are a key partner for us and we are delighted that they have chosen to build this store next to our factory at Chatteris. It will help to ensure continuity of supply and contribute towards our continuing quest for the best possible service and product quality.”

The Greenshoots Co-operative consists of A&EG Heading Ltd, Allpress Farms Ltd, Tompsett Burgess Growers Ltd, Fred Hartley (Estates) Ltd, Martin & Sons (March) Ltd, CH Tompsett, and Westfield Farms (Manea) Ltd.

The Produce World Group grows and supplies quality fresh vegetables. It supplies major retailers, food service and food manufacturing customers. Crops supplied by the group include potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, leaks, and garlic.

As well as conventionally grown vegetables, the Produce World Group is a leader in the organic category. The company works with its expert grower partners to grow the widest range of top quality fresh vegetables. It owns leading organic grower Taylorgrown, and its expert agronomy and procurement team adds value along the supply chain by working with individual growers, grower cooperatives and joint venture partners.

Crops are washed, graded and packed at Produce World’s sites across the East of England. In addition to its headquarters in Peterborough, the group has sites in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.