Vitacress has been supplying Waitrose for over 20 years with conventional and organic tomatoes focusing on varieties that deliver exceptional taste and quality.
The main production area for Vitacress is on the Isle of Wight where we have 26 hectares of glass which benefits from high sunshine levels and mild maritime climate. Vitacress also supplies living herbs from its site in West Sussex.
Vitacress have always been innovators. Amongst many notable firsts, we pioneered UK organic tomato production from 1997 and were one of the first businesses to introduce CHP (Combined Heat & Power). We have been responsible for a number of new introductions to Waitrose from the first cherry tomatoes in 1998 to today’s best-selling line Red Choice.
The tomatoes are grown with Integrated Pest Management which is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management using current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. Through our links with specialists in the horticultural industry and commitment to research on our own crops, Vitacress will be well placed to counter serious pest threats in the future, thus reducing the need to use pesticides and also reducing fruit residues to an absolute minimum.
The site has invested in a high-tech composting unit where all crop waste is composted, even including the biodegradable string and growing slabs. This unique process in the industry allows the site to return all of its crop waste to the greenhouses organic soils improving soil quality and creating a closed loop of waste recycling.The site is committed to Conservation grade farming which is an ethical, sustainable and ‘Fair to Nature’ way of growing food.
In this video, Paul Howlett, Head of Agronomy for Vitacress, talks about some of the challenges Vitacress have overcome in soil and pest management when producing organic tomatoes.