Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 16°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: Durum wheat crop for pasta set to be trialled near Beccles

06:00 13 July 2014

Anglia Picture Agency- Working at the company

Anglia Picture Agency- Working at the company's mill

©Anglia Picture Agency

The development of a new Sourced Locally partnership between Great Yarmouth firm Pasta Foods and the East of England Co-op will lead to durum wheat being trialled on farmland near Beccles.

shares
Anglia Picture Agency  L-R: Karl Jermyn, Managing Director – Pasta Foods; Jason Whittleton, Local and Fresh Foods Specialist, East of England Co-op; John Bagley, Commercial Buyer – Pasta Foods; Kevin Warden, Local and Fresh Foods Manager, East of England Co-op and Sophie Fauvel, Sales Executive, Pasta Foods.Anglia Picture Agency L-R: Karl Jermyn, Managing Director – Pasta Foods; Jason Whittleton, Local and Fresh Foods Specialist, East of England Co-op; John Bagley, Commercial Buyer – Pasta Foods; Kevin Warden, Local and Fresh Foods Manager, East of England Co-op and Sophie Fauvel, Sales Executive, Pasta Foods.

The first stage of the initiative involving the UK’s only manufacturer of dried pasta will see Fusilli and Alphabetti varieties using wheat grown in France appearing on the shelves of local Co-ops from next month.

The small-scale trial on the Sotterley estate will see 50 to 75 acres of durum wheat being planted in September and it is hoped it will yield up to 200 tonnes to blend into the Locally Sourced pasta semolina next summer.

If the technical hurdles of growing the crop can be overcome, estate farm manager Simon Thompson believes it could open up an exciting new market for local growers.

He said that while durum wheat had proved difficult to grow in our climate in the past, leading to its gradual disappearance from East Anglia, the outlook was now much more positive with new varieties coming on and improvements in growing techniques.

“It needs a high level of attention to detail and careful management when harvesting and drying,” he said.

“However, we are always keen to support someone looking for a high quality milling wheat on our doorstep.

“Durum can become an important market if we can prove we can grow the milling quality they require.”

For Pasteur Road-based Pasta Foods, which has focused on supplying pasta to food manufacturers for the past 15 years, the partnership with the Co-op represents a return to the direct retail market.

Managing director Karl Jermyn said if the venture was successful they would be looking to grow their retail sales and broker deals with other grocers.

He said: “Truly locally sourced produce, where consumers can see the journey from farm to fork, is gathering momentum all the time and local businesses supporting each other is part of that.

“In the future, I would like to see us sourcing the majority of our wheat from the UK. It can become a really important market for farms in East Anglia.”

Emphasising the potential to grow the business, Mr Jermyn said Pasta Foods’ current annual output of 12,000 tonnes of pasta represented just a 5pc share of the national market.

The company’s expansion will be facilitated by its £8m investment in a second factory in Forest Way, Norwich, which will begin production in the autumn; the new plant will focus on pasta production while its Yarmouth headquarters will concentrate on pasta snacks.

Mr Jermyn aims to grow the company’s current £26m turnover to £40m within five years.

Kevin Warden, local and fresh food products manager for East of England Co-op, said the Locally Sourced pasta had received a “fantastic reaction” when it was launched at a joint stand with Pasta Foods at the Royal Norfolk Show.

He said: “People want to know where their food comes from these days. If you put British strawberries and Norfolk strawberries on a shelf, they will buy Norfolk.”

He said if the Fusilli and Alphabetti proved a success they would look to extend the range.

Pasta Foods’ commercial buyer John Bagley said: “People visiting the show did not know who we were - and they were amazed they would be able to buy locally sourced pasta.”

shares
A double lightining strike has hit and destroyed a house. Darren Hobson surveys the damage. Picture: Stephen Huntley.

A hero father-of-six who led his family to safety following a lightning strike to his home has praised his neighbours’ support.

Stuart Cullen, from the Lowestoft area, who died in the terrorist attack in Tunisia.

The family of a man who died in the Tunisian massacre have paid tribute to their “third musketeer”.

New Street, Woodbridge

Mrs Poppy died after a collision in New Street, Woodbridge, on Wednesday.

Libby Brown headteacher at Kyson Primary, Woodbridge.

A board of school governors has launched a fierce attack on Suffolk County Council after their headteacher had to stop work for seven weeks.

BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy with one of the Scamnesty bids

A Suffolk Trading Standards Scamnesty campaign is using special bins across the county in a bid to snare unscrupulous conmen.

Cedar House, Pytches Road, Melton - set to have ten new homes in its grounds.

Developers who have bought a prime site on the edge of Woodbridge from the district council expect to submit proposals to create new homes next month.

Beach patrol rescue spaniels from Clacton beach.
Owner and her dogs.

A beach patrol team at Clacton swung into action to rescue two dogs yesterday evening.

Culford Girls under 18 Hockey Team January 1990

Were you a member of the Culford girls under 18 hockey team in January 1990. Were you in the squad photographed here?

Sybil Andrews at work in her studio, circa 1980 - Photo from the book

Suffolk artists are often hidden from history, but a campaigner is hoping to rectify that.

Murrayfield Primary School.

The headteacher of an Ipswich primary school has resigned just weeks after parents criticised a decision to axe after-school clubs and the end of term disco.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages