MP gives Westminster seal of approval to Cheshire tomato grower

A Cheshire family business is leading the way using innovative means to grow produce, and is a prime example of how Britain can move towards self-sufficiency, an MP has told colleagues in Westminster.

Frank Rudd and Sons, based at Over Peover, produces around 1,000 tonnes a year of cherry, vine and plum tomatoes. Unlike traditional tomato growing, the grow bags used by the business are suspended about a metre off the ground and grow upwards until they reach the ceiling. They then grow along the ceiling, guided by wires, with work on the vines – whether pruning, harvesting or supporting the vine – happening from carts running on tracks between the vines.

The MP for Tatton, Esther McVey, highlighted Frank Rudd and Sons to her ministerial colleagues at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy by telling them about the innovative growing techniques used by the firm.

Ms McVey said: “This is a modern and innovative way of growing produce and the way technology is being used, in a positive way, is fantastic.

She continued “Not only this, they use bees and wasps to control the insects on the tomatoes which reduces to negligible amounts, any pesticides needed.”

Esther added: “So many people are cut off from where there food comes from but we have this innovative business on our doorstep and I needed to share their excellence with colleagues as they are an example of how Britain can be self-sufficient and we can learn from them.”

The business, which was founded in 1939, currently supplies to both large supermarkets and local businesses, including farm shops and greengrocers, and is hoping to extend and invest in more greenhouse space in the next couple of years.

Photo: Chris Rudd and Esther McVey

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