After a long dark winter, nothing quite signals the coming of spring like bringing home the first colourful bunch of glorious full-headed tulips.
Meet Mark Eves, a cut flower grower from Belmont Nurseries
Name of grower: Mark Eves
Farm: Belmont Nurseries
Size of farm: 550 acres
?Crop: Cut flowers
What do you do? We grow cut flowers and bulbs for the supermarkets and floristry industry.
How are the crops grown? The tulips for cutting are grown under glass to ensure a longer growing season and earlier flowering, while the daffodils are grown outdoors, happier to flower in a cooler climate.
How do you harvest your flowers? We use a mixture of machinery and hired labour – the amount of workers on site very much depends on the time of year and how much there is to pick.
What challenges do you face? Sourcing labour is a bit more difficult than it used to be, partly because as we became busier and needed to meet the demands of the supermarkets, the hours we needed worked changed. Around 85% of our workers are Eastern European.
How do you pick the crop? Picking the flowers is labour intensive, and we are always looking for ways to become more efficient such as building new machines.
Did you know?
The UK cut flower and indoor plant market is worth £2.2 billion at retail level, and British farmers grow 14,000 hectares of plants and flowers.
How can I buy British flowers?
To be sure you are buying British, be sure to look at the label for place of origin and check for a Union flag or ‘Grown in the UK sticker.