Many people visited this site when the news about Heart of England Fine Foods was published. We hope the interest will extend to news of a Meriden food producer.
As there has been no fair trade price for pig farmers, and feed costs had doubled, fourth generation farmer Rick Taylor decided to leave this unprofitable business and use some land at Rock Farm in Meriden to grow salad crops.
Polytunnels are not regarded as beautiful, but – as climate becomes more unpredictable – there might well be increased use of these micro-climates if we are to encourage local food and reduce imports. As people are advised to buy British and climate change poses problems with drought and flooding, growing food in polytunnels will become more common. Some grow vegetables and salads using hydroponics, feeding plants with liquid nutrients.
The only British tomatoes found on sale out of season are from Thanet Earth polytunnels in Kent. They have a very good flavour and are a welcome option instead of Spanish and Dutch imports.
Growing in just under an acre, Charles Dowding makes £30,000 a year selling salad leaves to local customers within a 4 mile radius of his farm.
Objections were made to the Rock Farm development on safety, parking, environmental and aesthetic grounds and concern was voiced about the impact on water pressure, but Knowle and Bickenhill councillors voiced their support for the application and their desire to help the farming industry.
Mr Taylor has now been granted permission (conditional approval) to erect two polytunnels and ancillary irrigation-related buildings, which will be screened from Back Lane and the adjacent public footpath by landscaping including native trees and shrubs.
Look out for Rock Farm Salads when shopping next year!