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FEA judges Tickled pink by purple carrots

A Cambridgeshire grower is the inaugural winner of a new category in the NFU Farming Excellence Awards, the Best Innovation in the Food Chain Award, sponsored by Marks & Spencer, for developing and growing purple carrots.

Clem Tompsett, managing director of Tompsett Burgess Growers, first started trying to develop purple carrots five years ago in private trials on his farm and brought them to market just last year.

Carrots were originally purple until Dutch growers patriotically developed an orange variety which soon became the most common variety and Clem’s idea was to re-introduce purple carrots as a fun way of encouraging children to eat more vegetables.

Clem started farming 50 years ago on just 79 acres of land and has been growing carrots since 1961, initially supplying markets and then the expanding supermarket trade under the banner of the family company, Isleham Carrot Growers.

NFU President Tim Bennett said: “Clem demonstrates admirably that in the increasingly competitive world that we live in today, innovation is the driving factor in many success stories in British farming.”

Clem was presented with a cheque for £1,000, a certificate and a brass farm gate plaque as part of his prize from Marks & Spencer.

Marks & Spencer Technical Manager Andrew Sharp said: “Marks & Spencer are delighted to be working with the NFU and supporting the Best Innovation in the Food Chain Award.

“Using innovation to provide excitement and new eating solutions for customers will always be a key driver for increasing sales. Innovation has always been at the heart of Marks & Spencer’s food offer, and we welcome any chance to encourage new ideas and new products.

“Marks & Spencer would like to thank the finalists for taking part and congratulate them on their achievements.”

Runner-up Guy Poskitt of MH Poskitt Ltd in East Yorkshire received £200 for adapting his business so that it is now able to produce carrots 52 weeks a year.



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