The UK’s first fully automated glasshouse herb growing facility has opened in West Sussex. This £3m investment by the Langmead Group provides year-round large-scale herb farming for the UK supermarkets at a rate of 5 million pots a year.

The unique automatic potting, sowing and growing system can run 24 hours a day and requires minimum human input. The 1.2-hectare site grows potted basil, parsley, mint, thyme and chives for retailers, as well as an organic range for Abel & Cole.

Ian Summerfield, CEO at Langmeads said “This is a very exciting development for us. Our customers are getting five-star reviews for taste and quality from their customers – as can be seen on the Abel & Cole website. We have embraced the innovation, technology and investment required to create cutting-edge environmental and stock management for our customers.”

The glasshouse is a model of radical thinking and sustainability:
  • Glasshouses are inherently energy hungry so the site is heated by a fully sustainable biomass fuel system.
  • The glasshouse uses zero tap water. Water is sourced from Langmead’s reservoir and 100% recycled through UV filtration.
  • The 550m2 germination room allows optimal growth and crop uniformity.
  • It uses the latest technology, including growing benches sown and moved robotically
  • Organic herbs can be grown in significant volume in the same footprint as regular herbs using a peat free substrate to have a positive environmental impact and reduce the carbon footprint
Langmeads are also carrying out market-leading research at the site, with trials of herb varieties and seed crops and a major trial is underway, in conjunction with the University of Nottingham, on lighting technology to provide the conditions for optimal growth and disease prevention.

Langmeads identified a market opportunity for potted herbs after establishing its reputation with herb packing at its headquarters in Bosham, West Sussex, and its Scotherbs brand in Dundee.

For more information 
Langmead Group
Ham Farm
Main Road
West Sussex
PO18 8EH
T: 01243 576 333