IMPACT Visit: Seasonal Strawberries Come to Fruition at Dyson Farming 06 Dec
The Glasshouse is the newest addition to the circular farming system, run by Glasshouse Manager Angel Angelov. The high-tech site spans 15 acres, and the glasshouse itself has been designed to lengthen the British strawberry season by growing quality strawberries at a time of year, early spring and late Autumn, when traditionally British strawberries are in very short supply. This will contribute to the UK becoming more self-sufficient in food reducing the air miles associated with imported fruit.
The group was privileged to take a look behind the scenes to see just how this is achieved – and were not disappointed!
The circular approach to farming is clearly evident. The production of organic matter from their anaerobic digester, fed from the waste of the current plant, provides the heat required to warm the glasshouse to critically controlled conditions, allowing strawberries to grow out of season. As the climate control computer system adjusts the temperature in the glasshouse to maintain the optimal growing conditions for the finest quality strawberries, rainwater is also harvested from the glasshouse roof, stored in a lagoon and used to irrigate the plants. The hanging gutters, which hold the plants, ‘swing’ from side to side to allow 15% extra crop to be grown in the same area.
The site also has a packhouse and cold store facilities allowing Dyson Farming to pick, chill, pack and deliver fresh fruit to the end customer as quickly as possible – potentially the same day!
The glasshouse has incorporated new technologies such as advanced robotic picking, which although slow currently, provides scope for the future, along with advanced LED lighting that could increase glasshouse efficiency and lengthen the season further.
Cutting down the food miles and providing a sustainable and lengthened growing season is just the start of Dyson Farming’s venture into glasshouse growing. We can’t wait to see the next steps unfold – whatever they may be!
“Just wanted to say thank you for organising the tour last night. It was fascinating to see inside of a structure I drive past most days!” IMPACT member.
If you would like to join the IMPACT group and get involved in our visits and events, click here to become a member.