TIMELINE: From greenhouse to shop floor - the story of Somerset's strawberries
PUBLISHED: 12:15 25 May 2017
Somerset is well-known for a number of things, including its cider orchards and strawberries, and as the weather get warmer and with summer just around the corner, strawberry season is in full flow.
The Mercury visited Seagers Cheddar Valley Strawberries, in Wells Road, Draycott, to find out how strawberries grow and how the business has prepared for the season.
Business owner Chris Seagers said June is considered the main season for strawberries. But to keep on top of their competitors, the company works all year round to ensure there is a constant flow of produce to sell.
The strawberries grown at the Seagers are sold at the shop, in Wells Road, and at Bristol’s daily food market.
Chris said he and his employees aim to pick around 100 trays a day through May and June, which are all sent out the same day.
He said: “We have around 15,000 plants in our green house and another 14,000 across our polly houses and open tunnels.
“We are considered quite small for the industry but we try to keep our business local – selling at the local markets and to shops and restaurants in the area.”
Seagers is a family-owned company dating back three generations.
It was first started by Chris’ grandmother, Margaret Seagers, who enjoyed growing and selling strawberries in the area while her husband Ted was at war.
Chris said: “Granddad was serving in the war as a mechanic and my grandma wanted something to do so she start selling her strawberries in Wells Road, where our shop is now.
“The season was a lot shorter back then and it was not her full-time job, but she enjoyed it.
“My dad left school when he was 14 and started helping out more and I joined when I left school as well.
“As a family business we pride ourselves on being small and customer friendly.”
From June until May, employees are growing, tending and picking strawberries, putting in new plants and monitoring them to ensure its produce is the best it can be.
Seagers also pride themselves on producing fresh and delicious strawberries which have only been handled once – when they are being picked.