A giant tomato greenhouse is to begin operations in Suffolk, UK. In the first stage of a £30m project, Sterling Suffolk Ltd has built a huge Dutch-style glasshouse equal in size to eleven football pitches. The first tomatoes will be planted in December ready for harvesting from mid-February 2019. The tomato vines will be produced using hydroponics. It is environmentally friendly, with air-circulation systems and water-collection systems.
The tomatoes would grow in natural light, with a season from March through to October, and one hectare of plants would grow under lights at other times.
This giant greenhouse will also be used to produce a range of salad vegetables, fruit and flowers. The firm aims to produce 50,000 vines per week of top-quality tomatoes.
Cliff Matthews of Sterling Suffolk Ltd said,
“It is the most environmentally efficient glasshouse in the UK. The first of its kind here. Real glass is more efficient for this. This is agriculture on an industrial scale. There is an art and science to growing tomatoes and we have a very good expert involved, Richard Lewis, one of the best in the UK.”
The three-phase project will cost around £30m over the next three years. When complete there will be 17 hectares of production glasshouses, offices, and on-site packaging facilities. The site will employ between 40 and 50 people.