Lincolnshire grower Peloton Produce is looking towards a bright future as they lay the foundations for a 3.5 acre extension to the current premises, the extension will include a new 1000 pallet high humidity cold store complex and additional loading bays, thus doubling their current cold storage footprint.
“We have recently extended our partnership with Spanish grower Agricola Santa Eulalia, we oversee the UK sales and distribution and as we are growing similar products at Peloton Produce it allows us to offer our customers a ‘one stop’ solution for the current Brassica range," explained Nigel Clare, Director at Pelton Produce.
"This gives a simplified offer to our customers whilst enabling us jointly to smooth out the shoulders of the season. In these very difficult times and with adverse weather patterns the collaboration has really started to give considerable gains to our existing customers. The combined businesses have diversified their current range and now offer stone fruit and table grapes during the summer months. We are sharing our expertise in growing and packing technology and diversifying into other crops that the two businesses feel are suitable to the land that they farm in the Valley of Lorca, Lincolnshire and Cornwall."
Nigel said that their main volume and focus will remain to be in broccoli, cauliflower, and sweetheart cabbage, however, they are also looking at the possibility of growing crops such as spinach or possibly herbs as they continue to diversify. Nigel is keen to explain that both Agricola Santa Eulalia and Peloton Produce will continue to develop the brassica range with the focus on quality and affordability that their customers have come to expect from this collaboration. However, as both sites in Spain and Lincolnshire increase in size and capacity, they have a clear business plan to increase gradually, and under a controlled pattern, the range of Sku’s offered.
Peloton’s summer vegetable season in the UK is just about to begin, new season kale will be on offer in 12 days, broccoli on the 12th June and the first Sweetheart cabbage will be harvested on the 31st May.
“We have had very abnormal growing conditions, having started to plant under polythene on the 28th February which was slightly early than in a normal season, we then experienced a long spell of cold weather in March and since then it has been very much a stop start situation as the ground temperatures have remained cold, resulting in the crops being around 10-12 days late. This is where the collaboration with Spain allows Peloton to stand out from its competitors as it has the flexibility to extend or shorten seasons to ensure the customer is offered the best quality and with a guarantee of continuity from either Spain or the UK."
Peloton Produce is a relatively young company, just 2 ½ years old. The company started trading on 1st April 2020 and was immediately hit by a global pandemic and the effects of Brexit.
“We have been upbeat, and continue to move in the right direction, the business has not been affected by the labour crisis as we pay a higher rate to our colleagues than is normal within our sector, which helps us maintain our staff retention. We are developing ways of removing the peaks and troughs from the UK brassica season caused by irregular weather patterns. One of these is by using thermal netting, it is a long-term sustainable solution, which not only insulates the crop but also protects it from damage and contamination from pigeons, deer etc which are becoming an ever-increasing problem to the Brassica grower."
Nigel sums up his thoughts on the sector by saying: “Here at Peloton we believe if we can continue to diversify and keep our finger on the pulse there is a bright future for Peloton Produce and for British farming.”