PRODUCE World – which includes Marshalls of Butterwick – is aiming to help the consumer by speeding up the harvesting of fresh produce on its farms with the development of the Field Factory.
The company, one of the UK’s leading growers and suppliers of fresh produce, has invested millions in an attempt to ensure its crops reach the consumer in optimum condition.
This latest machine, weighing 18 tons, is a unique self-propelled harvest system – with the concept coming from Marshalls.
It selects and harvests broccoli which is then weighed, packed and labelled in the field – ready for vacuum cooling and delivery to the supermarkets.
Its efficiency and speed helps to increase the shelf life of the broccoli.
The company claims there are other benefits of using the Field Factory including:
l Broccoli is only handled once and is packed within 60 seconds of being harvested.
l The waste produce that doesn’t meet required quality standards is left in the field and ploughed back into the soil.
l Up to 2 tonnes of broccoli per hour can be packed and processed.
l Because the Field Factory can operate 24 hours every day this ensures the broccoli is harvested at the coolest part of the day reducing the cooling cycle times before being transported.
To optimise the outputs of the Field Factory, Produce World has also invested in a new multi-million pound state-of-the-art cold storage unit.
This technology offers significant reductions in energy usage compared to standard refrigeration equipment, which again is good for the environment.
Produce World’s commitment to innovation was recognised by the fresh produce industry at the recent Re:Fresh awards run by the Fresh Produce Consortium where it won the Innovation of the Year Award for the Field Factory.
The Field Factory is a British invention.
The rig was designed and built by VHS in Lincolnshire and the packing systems were designed and built in Norfolk by Redpack Packaging machinery.
The whole concept however came from Produce World Marshalls who worked closely with VHS and Redpack to design and build the truly unique Field Factory system.