Fife co-operative in food produce merger to create new business

Andrew Faichney, managing director of East of Scotland GrowersAndrew Faichney, managing director of East of Scotland Growers
Andrew Faichney, managing director of East of Scotland Growers
Two of Scotland’s longest established fresh produce organisations have completed a merger and created an additional growing business.

Cupar-headquartered East of Scotland Growers Ltd (ESG) and R&K Drysdales Ltd (RKD), have joined forces to create Pease Bay Farms

ESG is a farmer owned co-operative with a collective of 15 growers produces vegetable crops including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, carrots, onions, and asparagus. The members’ farms are based in Fife, Angus, Perthshire, Kincardinshire and the Scottish Borders, producing more than 6000 acres of Scottish brassicas on the east coast.

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RKD is the UK’s leading brussels sprout grower and packer, with one of the most sophisticated and high output grading, packing and storage facilities in Europe. It also grows and packs swede and leeks at its state-of-the-art facilities in Berwickshire.

Aligning the two organisations - both key UK producers for their respective cropping - couples Scotland’s leading vegetable growers to the premier brassica packer in the country. It also complements the winter cropping of RKD to the summer cropping portfolio of ESG, creating a sustainable, year-round producer. The move will create further create opportunities for farmers in Berwickshire, Scottish Borders, Lothians, Fife, Angus, Kincardineshire and Perthshire through the not for profit co-operative.

Andrew Faichney, managing director of East of Scotland Growers, said: “This merger is very unique within Scotland and combines two firms with a longstanding history of high-quality produce. With a collective turnover approaching £50m this merger provides stability and security for our membership and will provide an additional range of products and value to our customer base.”He added: “This is a very exciting development not just for the ESG and RKD stakeholders, but the entire fresh produce farming industry here in Scotland.”

ESG and RKD have established Pease Bay Farms to grow brassica crops across more than 1000 acres of prime agricultural land, growing exclusively for the merger and joining ESG as a full member of the producer organisation.

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The merger deal was managed by Alistair Lang, lead partner in the ventures and innovation team at Thorntons.

He said: “Agriculture is a vital contributing sector to the Scottish economy and effective and strategic partnerships are key component to its ongoing success. With both ESG and RKD achieving great things, facilitating the merger and creation of Pease Bay Farms can only be positive for the industry.”