Perthshire vegetable growers Stewarts of Tayside have boosted the scale and quality of their swede business with a six-figure investment in new machinery.
The new machinery means Stewarts, which are believed to be the largest growers and packers of swedes in the UK, will see a 25% increase in the tonnage it is able to wash and package.
The equipment will extract soil and stones before employees trim the vegetables by hand and an automated weight grader will improve accuracy when assigning swede sizes for different customer requirements.
The company’s managing director, Liam Stewart said: “The new equipment has been critical to our success over the last 12 months.
“Not only has it enhanced our production grading capabilities and efficiencies, but it has also reduced our carbon footprint and helped to avoid waste, which has meant more swedes making it to supermarket shelves.
“We’re an ambitious company and have grown year-on-year since starting out, so we’re thankful for HSBC UK’s support which has helped us to improve the quality of our product as we look to the future.”
Stewarts of Tayside is based at Tofthill Farm at Glencarse between Dundee and Perth and employs a team of up to 900 employees during the peak summer season. Along with swedes – which are supplied to national retailers, processors and wholesalers 52 weeks of the year – the company also produces soft fruit, including strawberries and raspberries.
HSBC UK director, John Robertson said the bank was proud to assist the expansion.
He added: “Stewarts of Tayside champions great local produce, and the improvement that it’s made to its production line stands it in good stead to manage sudden and unexpected shifts in demand like this last year has presented.”