Horticulture degree students from Pershore College visited leading grower Valefresco to see first hand a new agritech system in action.
Valefresco are one of the leading salad growers in the UK, supplying major British supermarkets with a variety of wholehead lettuce, babyleafs and more. Director of Valefresco Nick Mauro led the visit, showcasing the methods that they have introduced to increase yield at their Hampton Lucy farm where over 400 tonnes of salad is harvested every week..
The degree students were accompanied by Professor Roy Kennedy who is leading the agritech agenda at Pershore College, where a £500,000 grant by Worcestershire LEP is supporting the development of an Agritech Research Centre, due to open later this year.
As well as visiting the farm’s growing fields and polytunnels, the students were also shown round a new scheme which Valefresco have recently invested in – a hydroponic system for growing pak choi. This soilless growing system means the plants can be grown vertically and with tailor-made nutrients being delivered directly to the plants.
Roy said, “Our new Agritech Research Centre at Pershore College includes a Hydroponic Growing Room and 3D Bioponics Tunnel similar to the set-up at Valefresco, albeit on a slightly smaller scale! It was fantastic for the students to see this in action so we’d like to thank Nick and the team at Valefresco for hosting the visit today and giving us a real insight into how new technologies are being used in the commercial growing world.”
Pershore College offers a range of horticulture courses up to degree level. For more information go to www.wcg.ac.uk or call 0300 456 0049.