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Until 2013 we had always outsourced our onion grading and packing. As the Richmond Farms grower group acreage expanded and that of our own farming operation, the next logical step was to invest in our own onion production facility.
Therefore, we invested just shy of £3m in a state-of-the-art onion production facility at a factory we’ve owned since 1995 in Long Sutton. We extended the building to 40,000 square foot, which stands on an eight-acre site, and started to grade and pack onions ourselves in October 2013.
A year later we transferred this production facility into a 50/50 joint-venture with QV Foods called the Anglia Growing Partnership.
This is a prime example of collaboration in order to reduce costs and enable efficient whole-crop marketing. Nationwide and QV complement each other with customers in every sector of the market.
Together both companies market just over 80,000 tonnes of onions and grow 550 acres. The AGP site now produces over a quarter of a million packs of onions per week. By sharing this resource at Long Sutton, Nationwide and QV have committed to a healthy tonnage flowing through the site and to continue to work together to market the whole crop effectively and efficiently.
Growing and packing onions on such a large scale has helped us to forge strong relationships with retailers, wholesalers, catering/food-service suppliers, processors and many more.