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This video shows the first crop of 600,000 strawberry plants growing at a new six hectare glasshouse built by the specialist team at CambridgeHOK.
The Beeswax Dyson Farming site, in Carrington, near Boston, has been fully operational since shortly before Christmas, with the first ever crop due to be harvested in the Spring.
Tim Haworth, Commercial Manager at CambridgeHOK, said: “This facility is quite breath-taking when you walk through it due to the sheer scale of the development, and the sophistication of the growing environment. We are very proud of it and it is really fantastic to see it now full of strawberry plants.
“The video gives a great insight of the size of the facility, although of course it can’t replicate the wonderful aroma that there will be in a few weeks’ time when there are hundreds of thousands of strawberries ready to be picked for consumers.”
CambridgeHOK were handed an empty field and started work on the six hectare site in March 2020 and handed the facility over on time and in budget last December. This was achieved despite the many extra measures which needed to be put in place to ensure safe working environments were provided.
Workers were even placed in their own hotel close to the site throughout the build to ensure it remained isolated at all times.
“We were blessed with good weather and also exceptional support from our partner supplier and contractors,” added Mr Haworth.
“These will be some of the earliest strawberries produced in the UK in 2021, and of the highest quality as they are grown in perfect conditions.”
It is estimated that the new glasshouse will be able to produce 750 tonnes of strawberries annually. LED lighting systems will provide early production using Philips LED flowering lamps which are being used to extend daylength and so maximise early flower growth and fruit.
Self-sufficient water systems from rain-water are being used for harvesting across the site in irrigation systems, whilst heat is to be generated from an onsite anaerobic digester biogas plant, where maize and rye silage is converted into energy, stored and used as and when required in glasshouse enabling major energy savings.
Methane gas, which is already created by the anaerobic digestion process, is being used to create electricity to power the glasshouse through a specially built Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system.
A cold store and packing facility have also been built on the site together with management offices, meeting rooms and welfare facilities for 60 people.