The UK’s first fully farmer-owned brand of fine peas has succeeded in signing a major deal with Independent Supermarket Chain Booths.
The peas are all grown by family farms based on the Yorkshire Wolds
The contract will put the brand of frozen peas initially into all Booths 28 stores across the North of England.
The brand is owned by Swaythorpe Growers, a consortium of 40 Yorkshire pea farmers, who launched the Yorkshire Pea brand last year.
Swaythorpe Growers Director, Matthew Hayward, said: ‘It’s a huge coup for us to sign this deal with Booths. We’d spotted the rise in demand for locally-produced food and thought that trend could easily extend to the freezer. So far, most brands that trumpet their local status are specialist and expensive – we wanted to take the local message to the everyday foods that the shopper can find in the freezer.’
The farmers that make up the consortium had been growing peas for a number of retail and foodservice outlets, but shared a wish to move away from commodity farming into something they had more control over.
Adam Whalley, Chilled Buying Manager from Booths, described the deal: 'We are delighted to be stocking Yorkshire Peas, Petit Pois and broad beans. At Booths we are always looking to protect quality, provenance and innovation. Our customers have a strong demand for quality products from our home counties and these products tick all the boxes.”
“Our customers are buying more local products than they were 5 years ago and what better way to do it than to support 40 local farmers producing a product of great quality and freshness - the peas are frozen with 21/2 hours of being picked! We think they will be a great success and are proud to add them to our Booths range.’
Swaythorpe Growers pride themselves on ‘full transparency’ in farming and freezing. The peas are all grown by family farms based on the Yorkshire Wolds and then processed locally at a factory owned by one of the growers, giving the farmers direct control over every step of the process.
Matthew added: “We know that shoppers are keen to support British farmers – but we also know that those same people will always have a bag of generic frozen peas in their freezer – there’s very little in this category that’s clearly British.
“We firmly believe that local food needn’t be confined to a few muddy carrots at the local farm shop. This is real life and we want to give consumers the chance to directly support small scale family farming.
“We’ve always been proud of what we grow, but selling peas with our name on the packet has genuinely taken farming to a new level for us. Developing something grown, harvested processed and marketed by ourselves brings immense satisfaction. The peas taste pretty good too, even if I say so myself.”
The new lines are due to be in store from the end of October.