Blackdown Growers

Everything that Blackdown Growers does is rooted in ‘local’; from using their very own borehole to water their crops, which is “sixty metres down and is so fresh that you could drink it like spring water”, to the importance that they see in supporting local employment, right down to their supply chains, one of which is our own suppliers, Produce Warriors. Simon Calder from Blackdown Growers tells us “We’ve recently built further protected growing, meaning that we don’t have to import so much, which very much supports our ethos of low food miles and UK produce.”

Blackdown Growers provide Produce Warriors with beautifully grown and prepared salad leaves through an operation that consists of both outdoor growing areas, as well as protected Glasshouses. It’s the duality of this that, Simon explains, gives the greatest benefit to their customers: “The fact that we can grow UK produce twelve months of the year.” And it’s not only the year-round production that sets Blackdown apart; their commitment to ensuring their customers get best use of their product is central to these carefully cultivated relationships. As we stand amongst row upon row of velvety soft salad leaves, Simon tells us, “The most important thing about quality is freshness, long shelf-life and UK produce.” Their mantra, he continues, is to ‘keep it tight’ – which effectively means when ordering, “Start off slowly, make sure it’s washed well, use it quickly.”

The honesty and integrity of Blackdown Growers shines through when speaking with Simon. Having joined ten years ago, his sustained passion for the delicate leaves they grow is evident. Asked where this comes from, he explains: “It’s seeing what we can produce; when you see the farm workers go out on their tractors, cultivating the land, you can see the crops growing round here and you see that process going right through to the bagged product. When I know it’s our product and you see it on the plate, that’s great to know that we’ve done that.”