We start transplanting leeks in March, and then continue planting until July. We plant a number of different varieties of leeks depending on predicted harvest date and specification. This enables us to offer the best quality product for the 11-month harvest season.
For the early production of the leek season our first plants are raised in Morocco, without using any herbicide. After being transplanted into our fields we cover the crop with 'Growtech' to protect from light frosts and help keep the plants warm to ease the transition from warmer soils.
We use a variety of cultural and chemical controls for various reasons such as, keeping the crops free from weeds so there is less competition for light and nutrients as well as ease of harvesting. We also need to keep the crop free from pests and diseases to provide the best quality product possible. Where ever possible we like to minimise pesticide usage by, selecting disease and pest resistant varieties, crop rotation, mechanical and hand weeding are just a few methods we can use.
We use a mechanical way of harvesting as for our production we find it efficient and gives us a consistent quality. We like to minimise damage done to soil structure especially during wetter periods of the year, we have a number of methods to this including: - how far any vehicles need to travel in the fields, as well as a fridge to store dirty product for prolonged periods of bad weather, and ground pressure reducing technology where possible.
After harvest the leeks are taken to the packhouse where they are put through a washer that trims the roots and tops to desired length, then we use members of our team from the local area to final trim each leek before the leeks are sent through a final rinse of fresh water. The leeks are then hand selected and packaged with each box being individually weighed.