The Anonymous Widower

Strawberries From Dyson

With my supper tonight, I had some strawberries from Marks & Spencer.

I regularly eat strawberries and raspberries, when they are available.

But, these were particularly nice.

So I checked the label and found that they had been grown by Dyson Farming in Lincolnshire.

This page on the Dyson Farming web site describes their Strawberry Production.

  • The aim is to help the UK to be self-sufficient in food and cut air miles associated with imported soft fruit.
  • The strawberries are grown in a 15-acre greenhouse.
  • The greenhouse is heated by waste heat from a nearby anaerobic digester.
  • The greenhouse contains 700,000 strawberry plants.
  • Every year 750 tonnes of strawberries will be produced.
  • The website talks of in future using robotic picking and LED lights to prolong the growing season.

Is this the way strawberries will be farmed in the future? You bet, it will!

Dyson Farming seems to be innovating in the growing and marketing of Barley, Oilseed Rape, Peas, Potatoes and Wheat.

Use Of Carbon Dioxide

I wonder if carbon dioxide captured from a gas-fired power station could be added to the greenhouses to aid the production of strawberries. There certainly are a lot of serious research papers on the Internet looking at the effects of carbon dioxide on strawberry production.

Dyson Farm’s location in the South of Lincolnshire, is probably not a good location, as the large power-stations are in the North of the county.

Robotic Picking

I first saw it said in the 1960s, that at some point in the future no fruit will be grown unless it could be harvested by machines

Dyson states they are going that way with strawberries.

Could it also be one of the reasons for large strawberries, which we increasingly see in the shops, is that they ar easier for robots to pick?

LED Lighting To Prolong The Growing Season

This is surely logical, if you have enough electricity.

The Anaerobic Digesters

Their two anaerobic digesters seem to be able to produce a total of around 5 MW of electricity. This is said on the web site.

The anaerobic digesters produce gas which drives turbines producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 homes. This green energy also powers the farming operation.

There are two by-products from this process:

Digestate, which is applied to nearby fields as an organic fertiliser to improve soils and crop yields. It is expected that strawberries will be grown in the digestate in future as well.
Heat is captured and used to warm the glasshouse and encourage the strawberries to grow at a time of year when traditionally it has been too cold.

In some ways, the farming operation is run more like an efficient integrated chemical plant, than a large farm.

Conclusion

Anybody with an interest in farming or the environment should read the Dyson Farming web site.

I can envisage a farmer with a sunny but unproductive twenty-acre field contacting Dyson to install their own strawberry greenhouse.

Farming will certainly change.

I shall certainly, be buying Dyson strawberries again.

And I suspect we all will be buying strawberries grown in this way in a few years.

 

April 16, 2021 - Posted by | Food | , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Clever setup and the govt should be incentivising more on shoring of our ability to grow as much of our food as possible in an environmentally friendly way as possible.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | April 17, 2021 | Reply

    • Perhaps, they should subsidise Union Flag stickers for UK-produced food.

      Seriously, though I watch Countryfile most weeks and the program has featured several innovative ideas in this area.

      Wilkins at Tiptree are automating their soft fruit production for their jams.

      A couple of weeks ago, they showed the latest ideas from Lincolnshire to produce tulips.

      I think the incentive is there from the sales generated.

      Comment by AnonW | April 17, 2021 | Reply

  2. I don’t think I will be buying anything from Dyson anytime soon. Firstly his machines are designed to be unrepairable, as I found out when I tried to refit the cable on my sister’s Dyson vacuum after she pulled the cable out to far and secondly IMO the man is a detestable and cynical hypocrite.

    Labour has always been a problem harvesting, in the 60’s children used to harvest raspberries [and potatoes] even getting time off school to do so. In the 70’s Lincolnshire farms did “pick your own” strawberries, which had the benefit that customers only picked the ripest berries.

    Mechanical harvesting is difficult because soft fruit is so easily damaged.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | April 18, 2021 | Reply


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