Producer of the week: Calabaza

9th April 2015

Calabaza growers Joel and Paola based in London’s green belt, only 13.6 miles from Trafalgar Square, focus on veg that other producers aren’t growing locally. They are currently bringing us an organic array of fabulous greens and are well known for growing Japanese radishes, turnips and squash, and an Italian alternative to broccoli called cima di rapa. They harvest wild seeds – rock samphire and sea beet. They farm organically but won’t have certification for a few years.

They propagate all their own plants, planting every seed by hand, sowing at a rate of around 3 trays per hour. Their seeds are from Devon-based suppliers Edwin Tucker and Sons. They need to grow varieties that are disease-resistant, crucial for the organic grower (who cannot fall back on fungicides and pesticides the same way other large growers do). There are plans for an air-pressure driven automated seeder which works at a rate of 20 trays per hour. Sounds like that would be a welcome helping hand!

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