Paul Simmonds, Cornerway Nursery:

"Quality is everything in England"

Cornerway Nursery is the biggest tomato producer in the UK, responsible for 10% of the total tomato production on the island. In 2000, the company started with the tomatoes of Dometica RZ. Today, 8 different segments are cultivated on a total acreage of 18 ha. 

Paul Simmonds started at Cornerway Nursery in 2004 and is now running the place as general manager. As such, he’s very involved in selling the products. “The past 10 years have seen a lot of diversification,” he says. “We try to accommodate the customers as much as we can, and part of this is choosing the right varieties.”

General manager Paul Simmonds works intensively with Rijk Zwaan

Cornerway has its own panel when it comes to sampling the merchandise. “We basically just pick people off the street,” says Simmonds. “We base our choices on their opinions. It’s not just about the taste, but about the shape, the color, the firmness. It has to be perfect.”

A good example of a ‘perfect product’ is the Dometica RZ. The fact that the variety is still cultivated after all those years says it all: “One if its benefits is that it holds on to its color. It is a good variety that is easy to work with. Together with Rijk Zwaan in Holland we did a lot of experimentation on the right way to graft and cultivate, and the Emperador RZ gave us the best results.”

The grafting worked out really well this year with the Roterno RZ. “This crop is like a dream to us,” admits Simmonds, “every bunch looks beautiful.” To Simmonds, the Roterno is a prime example of sound cultivation going hand-in-hand with high quality. Quality control is one of the reasons the tomatoes are processed right here, on Cornerway’s own ground. “We want to supply retailers with the best possible product.”

The Cornerway Nursery

Cornerway never stops looking for improvements. Simmonds sometimes visits Rijk Zwaan’s Trial Center Tomato in Holland, but even more important is his good working relationship with adviser Stuart Lambert. “Together we keep searching for ways to do it better. Not just in picking the right variety, but in cultivation as well. We think that as far as grafting is concerned, there is ample room for improvement.”

Source: Seeds & Services, Rijk Zwaan

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