New £2m Scottish strawberry venture for The Co-operative Farms
The Co-operative Farms has invested more than £2m in its fruit-growing operation in Scotland by opening a state-of-the-art strawberry-packing plant near Dundee.
It has bought a site at Longforgan, from Gowrie Growers Limited, and has installed state-of-the-art packing equipment to handle locally-grown strawberries for sale in stores throughout Scotland and across the UK. In total, the investment is worth around £2.1m.
The Co-operative Farms, part of The Co-operative Group, is the UK’s largest farmer and grows food sold in Co-operative food stores as part of its “Grown by us” range.
The range includes strawberries grown at its farm in Blairgowrie, which will now be transported from the farm to Longforgan where they will be checked, weighed, sorted and packed before being distributed, via The Co-operative’s distribution network, to food stores.
Around 800 tonnes of “Grown by us” strawberries are expected to be processed at Longforgan each summer.
Pictured above: The Co-operative Farms employee Ileana Mitrica
In future, The Co-operative Farms is also planning to use the facility to pack “Grown by us” broccoli, which will be grown on its local farms.
As well as Blairgowrie, The Co-operative Farms also has farms in Aberdeenshire and Berwickshire, as well as a potato-packing unit at Carnoustie, near Dundee.
Rob Hull, The Co-operative Farms’ Head of Vegetable Operations, said: “We are delighted to have added the Longforgan plant to our extensive operations in Scotland. This investment will help us to ensure we can get fresh strawberries, grown on our own farm, into our shops and to our customers as efficiently as possible.”