In the second episode of GROW COOK EAT Michael Kelly visits Grantstown Nurseries in Ballygunner on the outskirts of Waterford city in the southeast of Ireland. Grantstown Nurseries is one of the leading commercial tomato producers in Ireland. During every growing season, about 350 tonnes of the tomatoes are produced in the one hectare under glass. The tomatoes are ripened naturally on the vine, picked and on the shop shelves in 48 hours. Established in 1978 Grantstown Nurseries have been supplying top quality tomatoes to the Irish market for 40 years. They are a family business with a long tradition of innovation and the highest horticultural practices.
Managing director of Grantstown Nurseries, David Currid, chatted to Michael in this episode of GROW COOK EAT. David inherited his passion for tomato growing from his father Pat, who has been in the business since the 1960s.
David spoke to Michael about his main challenges as an Irish tomato grower. Cheap competition from overseas is one of them. Imports from Holland and Spain are making business tough for Irish growers. They need to keep their own costs as low as possible in order to compete on price, while also trying to grow in an environmentally sustainable way. This can be done by rainwater harvesting, burning natural gas to heat the greenhouses, growing horizontally so the youngest part of the plant has access to sunshine through the glass roof (and therefore eliminating the need for special artificial lights).
Most importantly David, and everyone at Grantstown Nurseries, focuses on the quality and freshness of their produce. The best value and cheapest price are rarely the same thing when it comes to food.