The first of this season's Scottish strawberries were picked last week at Seahills Farm just north of Arbroath. Owned by Peter J Stirling, the farm is one of the biggest strawberry producers in Scotland. The strawberries are grown in over 10 hectares of heated tunnels.
"Growers who have glasshouses heated by gas are finding it too expensive to produce this early in the year. Our tunnels are heated using biomass boilers fuelled by locally sourced woodchips. Each boiler can heat 1HA of strawberries and are fully automated, as are the irrigation systems," explains Gary Bruce, Farm Manager at Seahills Farm.
The first picking was on the 22nd of March, and last week 500kg was harvested.
"This week, we will pick 3.5 tonnes. At our peak, we will pick 44 tonnes a week. We are helped by the climate we have here. We call it the 'Goldie-locks' climate, cooler in the summer and milder in the winter. Being on the east coast also means we have very high light levels as the light is reflected off the sea."
The strawberries are going into retail, Seahills Farm will then go on to supply local wholesalers from Glasgow to Inverurie. They also supply Harrods in London, Balmoral Castle, and Gleneagles Hotel, as well as home deliveries and pre-order collections from our packhouse.
Seahill's strawberries are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals to control pests and diseases. Sophisticated climate management systems are used in the tunnels to help reduce humidity and lower diseases, and only naturally occurring products that do not contain synthetic chemicals or leave a chemical residue are used on the fruits. Instead of using standard pesticides to eliminate harmful insects in the crop, a range of natural predatory insects are used to help protect the crop. We will be introducing home compostable, biodegradable, recyclable punnets this year for our strawberries which will be available to our local wholesalers, home deliveries, and packhouse collections.
For more information:
Tel.: +44 1241 871310