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Thanet Earth Expands into Leafy Salads with Hydroponic Innovation

Fresca Group Limited, a leading entity in the UK's fresh produce sector, has unveiled Thanet Earth's foray into the leafy salad market through the acquisition of Leythorne Nurseries, previously managed by Madestein (UK) Ltd.



The transaction encompasses an 8.25-acre site situated to the south of Chichester, featuring 27,000 square metres of glasshouses. Chichester, renowned for its optimal light conditions, has historically been a hub for several of the UK's top horticultural firms.


Martyn Fletcher, CEO of Fresca and Chairman of Thanet Growers, commented on the acquisition: "Thanet Earth's venture into the leafy salad category marks a significant step towards diversifying our product range, which currently includes specialty tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.


"Operating under the name Thanet Earth Lettuce, our aim is to cultivate lettuce throughout the year using a deep flow, hydroponic system. This initiative complements our recent investment in the Smart Farm at DGM Growers, where we are pioneering the cultivation of leafy vegetables in a vertical system within a greenhouse.


"This advancement highlights Fresca's dedication to innovative, high-tech growing methods that are both cost-effective and energy-efficient, compared to the more traditional, fully enclosed vertical farms. It perfectly aligns with our goal to expand our protected crop production and enhance our salad offerings to our customers."



Fletcher further stated, "It's crucial for us to continue cultivating our produce within the UK. The loss of a domestic grower could lead to increased imports, adversely affecting both the environment and our food security. This acquisition represents a vital opportunity to sustain local food production and contribute to the nation's self-sufficiency."


Thanet Earth's directors, Pleun van Malkenhorst and Arjan de Gier, are overseeing the operational team at the Chichester site to establish the new venture.


Van Malkenhorst expressed enthusiasm about the expansion: "Launching Thanet Earth Lettuce Ltd as an extension into the lettuce market is a natural progression for our portfolio of high-quality, sustainably grown UK tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.


"This venture not only excites us but also reinforces our leadership in the UK's greenhouse production industry."


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