Cornish Farmer of the Year 2018
When Riviera Produce MD, David Simmons left college to join his 150-year-old family farm of 90 acres, one of the first things done was a very thorough review of the farm, assessing what they were really good at producing – and cauliflowers and brassicas were the answer.
A letter and subsequent phone call to a national supermarket chain and the resultant contract prompted a massive scaling up of the business and whilst initially reliant on over 40 other growers, slowly over time David has seen Riviera Produce take control of more of the land, culminating in the business today farming over 5,500 acres themselves, another 1,000 acres with six other growers.
Riviera Produce now sells to five major supermarkets nationally, producing over 70 million brassica plants in 700 fields, employing some 400 people and becoming one of the top five brassica growers in the country. At the heart of the business is the ethos of being “Cornish and proud”
Recent developments at the farm include solar panels to make 55% of the pack house self-sufficient, constant product development including squashes and new varieties of brassica and taking part in projects looking at the use of robotics.