Location: West Sussex
Chris Wall’s family-run business is one of the UK’s leading growers of tomatoes, producing five million kgs of top quality vine tomatoes for supermarkets a year.
Six varieties of tomatoes are grown within 10.5 hectares of glasshouses and include types such as Elegance, Sunstream, Sophie-Jane, Arlinta, Ruby Jewel and Promoso. The farm based in Barnham is looked after by Chris’s 150 employees.
Tomato seeds are sown in late October/early November and arrive on the nursery just before Christmas. The first picks are in early March and this carries on through till November when the plants are removed and the process starts again.
Chris uses predatory insects to control pests from destroying his tomato plants. The farm has hundreds of bee hives in the tomato crops for pollination as well as a number of ‘bee hotels’ outside.
Over the last decade Chris and his team have reduced their environmental impact through energy efficient boilers, thermal screens and more sustainable water management. Rainwater is collected from the glasshouse roofs and put into their on-site reservoir and used to water the tomato crops. The reservoir has also become a thriving wildlife habitat.
Chris is also committed to reducing waste wherever possible. The leaf waste from the tomato plants is composted to use in the soil of future tomato crops and lasts for a number of seasons.
Did you know?
Tomatoes are best stored at room temperature in a fruit bowl rather than in the fridge because refrigeration alters their natural ripening.