Root cause

Carrots are big business for Nottinghamshire farmers as they respond to a mid-winter revival of the campaign to get us eating more of the healthy orange root vegetables.

They make your hair curl, improve your sex life, help you see in the dark and if you prefer science to dodgy folklore they are a fat-free, low-sodium source of fibre and Vitamin A. If carrots are a regular part of your diet your GP and your greengrocer will be delighted. So will Martin Evans.

As well as being the spokesman for British carrot growers Martin is the managing director of Freshgro, the co-operative which, from a processing centre near Bilsthorpe, takes a 6% segment of the UK carrot market and a 90% segment of the market for Chantenays, the small but sweet variety that thrives in the sandy ‘Orange Rectangle’ of central Nottinghamshire.

Read more by downloading the full Nottingham Today Feature on Chantenay carrots.a

Freshgro take Chantenay from strength to strength

With the second year of Freshgro?s PR campaign to promote Chantenay carrots now underway, the Nottinghamshire cooperative aims to build on the success it has enjoyed with the product to date.

Sales of Chantenay have doubled over the past year in line with product production and public demand. Consumer awareness of Chantenay has been raised by a PR campaign which achieved coverage for the little carrots on national radio and TV and across a broad range of national and regional print media reaching a readership of over 25m.

The PR campaign seeks to answer consumers? questions: what are Chantenay carrots, where are they from and what do you do with them? As part of its innovative program of consumer activity, Freshgro has taken its carrots to the public at county shows in order to trial the product and gauge reaction. MD of Freshgro, Martin Evans comments,

?We came across two distinct types of consumer. Those who had tried Chantenay before loved the product and bought it faithfully. Those who were trying Chantenay for the first time responded very positively at the shows and our challenge now is to turn that first experience into a shopping habit.?

Freshgro believes that there is still a lot of growth in the Chantenay market not least in the family sector, since Chantenay are so perfect for children. The new campaign includes work with the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, the 5 a Day campaign and will see the launch of a new children?s? website which aims to entertain and educate 4-6 year olds and their parents and teachers.

Looking forward to the year ahead, Martin Evans says,?We are confident that there is an established demand for Chantenay, we now need to grow that demand without losing the ?specialness? of the product. The country is crunching Chantenay and we aim to keep it that way!?

For further information and photography, please contact Pam Lloyd on 0117 9421803; 07813 958526;

Freshgro video promotes careers in sector

Co-operative Freshgro is helping to boost the image of horticultural production among potential career entrants with participation in a new learning-aid video.

Freshgro has teamed up with the Quality Improvement Agency’s National Teaching & Learning Change Programme to generate interest in careers in the sector and highlight technological advances.

The video focuses on the technology that has enabled Freshgro to revive the Chantenay carrot in UK production. It also shows how IT forms an integral part of the business today and looks at bespoke weather and soil forecasting data. It reveals how sophisticated technology works alongside a human workforce to process crops before products reach consumers.

Freshgro managing director Martin Evans said: “The video will be an eye-opener for young people who may not know farming methods have reached the 21st century.”

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