On Tuesday 25 October 2016, British Sugars’ award-winning horticulture business, Cornerways Nursery, announced that it will no longer produce tomatoes after the current crop.
From 2017, the glasshouse will be used to grow a key ingredient for the pharmaceutical sector. This ingredient will be used in a new prescription medicine being developed to treat rare but serious forms of epilepsy in children. The medicine, known as Epidiolex, has recently completed trials at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London as well as other hospitals in the UK, Europe and the US. This contract with GW Pharmaceuticals is a further step in making this medicine more widely available.
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To find out more information about our current operations, please see below.
A quarter of a million plants are grown in the UK's largest single tomato glasshouse, which covers an area of 18 hectares. The fruit are harvested between February and November.
All the produce is packed on-site in a modern packhouse, minimising handling and transport and allowing produce to be despatched for supermarket shelves directly from the nursery.
Over 8,500 bumblebees, living in 170 bee hives, pollinate the crop and are part of the nursery's integrated approach to crop management using natural agents and predators in preference to agro-chemicals.
Cornerways Nursery benefits from its location close to the Wissington sugar factory. More than two hundred and forty miles of piping carries hot water from the factory's Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant around the glasshouse, to maintain the balmy temperatures which suit tomato plants. This hot water would otherwise be destined for cooling towers, so the scheme ensures that the heat is used productively.
Another benefit is the productive use of waste carbon dioxide from the sugar factory, which tomatoes use during photosynthesis. At Cornerways, carbon dioxide (a by-product from the CHP boiler) is pumped into the enormous glasshouse to be absorbed by the plants, rather than vented into the atmosphere as waste emissions.
The site also harvests the rainwater from the giant glasshouse roof; over 115 million litres are collected annually to irrigate the plants.
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