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East Anglia Future 50

Potato farmer plants more crop and takes on staff after scooping major retail contract

PUBLISHED: 07:53 03 May 2019

Robert and Laura Strathern from Fairfields Farm potatoes  Picture: FAIRFIELDS FARM

Robert and Laura Strathern from Fairfields Farm potatoes Picture: FAIRFIELDS FARM

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A north Essex potato farmers has landed a 'fantastic' deal to supply more than 90 Co-op stores across the region.

Colchester�s Fairfields Farm has secured a deal with the national Co-op group, supplying 92 of its stores across East Anglia with potatoes  Picture: FAIRFIELDS FARMColchester�s Fairfields Farm has secured a deal with the national Co-op group, supplying 92 of its stores across East Anglia with potatoes Picture: FAIRFIELDS FARM

Fairfields Farm will supply the Manchester-based national retail chain with a range of fresh potatoes across shops in Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire from May.

The Co-op will sell its 1.5kg white potatoes, 750g Baby Potatoes and four-pack Baking Potatoes in a new deal which is set to have a “significant” impact on the team at Fairfields Farm, which is based at Wormingford, near Colchester.

MORE – Essex potato farmers who launched Fairfields Farm crisps open new AD plant

Farmers Robert and Laura Strathern already run a highly successful crisps diversification from the farm.

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As a result of the Co-op deal, more potatoes have been already been planted to increase the yield of this year's harvest and new jobs created to cope with the extra workload.

“This is a fantastic new contract for us. It has increased the volume of our production and created new jobs on the farm,” said farmer Robert Strathern. “We also sell our fresh potatoes through the East of England Co-op, and this new deal will enable us to significantly expand our reach and awareness of Fairfields Farm - allowing more consumers to get their hands on locally-grown potatoes.”

Simon Dryell, head of local sourcing at the Co-op, said: “As a community retailer, sourcing local produce is the corner-stone of our approach, with the Co-op committed to investing and, creating value, in its local communities. Shoppers increasingly seek quality local products, our members and customers tell us that provenance, trust and value is key. That is why the Co-op is committed to providing opportunities to showcase, celebrate and support great local products.”

The Fairfields Farm branded potatoes will go on sale in 92 Co-op stores from May 7.

To coincide with the launch, Fairfields Farm has also rebranded and reshaped its pack sizes to make them more convenient for the consumer, while investing in 100% recyclable LDPE packaging, in line with the farm's own eco targets.

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