Red Roofs Nursery is a successful family business based in Cottingham which began in 1961 and employs local people to produce a British product.
The traditional market garden business was originally started by Peter Durnford when he grew a wide variety of vegetables including cabbage, leeks, outdoor lettuce and a small amount of summer tomatoes grown under glass. The business continued to flourish and develop new varieties for the English market.
For example, Peter was the first British grower to produce little gem lettuce. When Chris Durnford returned from university in 1988, the commercial horticultural industry was becoming more specialised with the introduction of computers for environmental control and saw the move away from lettuce to produce 1.3 million kg of round tomatoes.
Red Roofs Nursery went on to develop a second site in Cottingham and, with further expansion are now growing in 14 acres of modern, energy efficient glass. The nursery continues to respond to the technological advances within the industry such as:
using combined heat and power to burn gas, produce electricity and use carbon dioxide to enrich the crop
using thermal screens to reduce energy demands
using biological control to treat pest and disease rather than using pesticides
water recirculation using slow sand filtration
Red Roofs Nursery also takes part in scientific research trials in partnership with HDC, ADAS, University of Nottingham and the Farm Energy Centre. We benchmark energy and water use, yield and costs of production with nine other growers across the country.