Retailer Asda is introducing two new varieties of cherry tomatoes that are sustainably grown in Britain.
The packs of Extra Special Mixed Tomatoes from its grower Flavour Fresh in Aldergrove Southport, come in both golden yellow and vibrant orange.
Flavour Fresh has been growing tomatoes for Asda since 1995, and this summer they’ll be suppling around 330,000 cases for customers.
And one of the unique offshoots: Flavour Fresh partnered with The Three Owl Bird Sanctuary and Reserve to help build an environment around their greenhouses, where the birds could be safely released back into the wild. Over the past five years, this sustainable approach to growing produce and helping the local wildlife and ecosystem has gotten stronger.
“Never did I dream that tomato growing could ever be so beneficial to British wildlife," said Andy Roe, Flavour Fresh’s Production Manager with 31 years of growing tomato experience. "From a bare grass field five years ago, we now have a vast meadow reserve that has delivered the most amazing transformation to the local wildlife and ecosystem. Knowing our approach to growing tomatoes has contributed to that is just an incredible feeling."
Endangered birds of prey, bees, water voles, moths and rare butterflies are amongst some of the inhabitants around the greenhouse and Flavour Fresh’s meadows, as the grower plants wildflower mix around the plots to encourage biodiversity.
This unique approach to growing and protecting the ecosystem has gained Asda’s supplier recognition with both the Ethical Trading Institute and The Soil Association. In addition to protecting the local ecosystem, the re-circulation design of the greenhouse allows water to be collected and re-distributed across the crops, making the practice sustainable and preventing the local waterways from being polluted.
"We are so proud of our contribution to the environment, it just shows what can be achieved with the right approach to growing and biodiversity," Roe said.