Fresh vegetables supplier in Peterborough plans to recruit up to 70 staff

A leading vegetables grower and supplier in Peterborough is looking to recruit up to 70 staff.

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 5:00 am
Andrew Burgess examining strawed carrots.
Andrew Burgess examining strawed carrots.

Directors at Burgess Farms, in Great Drove, Yaxley, say the extra workers are needed to supply its range of fresh produce to many leading supermarkets.

Andrew Burgess, agricultural director at Burgess Farms, said: “We are reviewing our staffing requirements at our sites at Yaxley and at Isleham, in south east Cambridgeshire.”

Mr Burgess said the number of recruits needed could vary between 30 and 70.

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Bringing in the fresh vegetables at Burgess Farms.

Burgess Farms employs about 500 staff across its sites.

The recruitment comes at a challenging time for the business as it complies with Covid rules and continues to supply carrots, potatoes, parsnips, onions and beetroot to all supermarket chains,

Mr Burgess said: “Many of our admin functions have been operating remotely but factory operations have been operating for nearly 12 months at elevated levels of demand.

“We’ve broken the workforce into smaller operating bubbles, staggered start, finish and break times and lots of other practical measures to maintain social distance. We have not had any work place transmission of Covid to date.

“We’re proud of the way the teams have performed under difficult circumstances.”

Last April, as demand for food soared in the early weeks of the first national lockdown, Burgess Farms was also recruiting as it picked and packed tonnes of fresh vegetables to meet an unprecedented demand from nation’s supermarkets.

The early weeks were described as ‘equivalent of three Christmases in a row’ for Burgess Farms, which turns out 1.5 million packets of organic carrots a week from Yaxley and five million packets of potatoes and vegetables.

Mr Burgess said some of the new vacancies could suit staff at the Chatteris-based Bartlett’s farm, which has announced it is to close in June.

He said: “Given the similarities of the Bartlett’s business to ours, we are confident there will be opportunities to help out the employees with new jobs.

“Growing and supplying vegetables to the supermarkets is a tough industry.

“We understand just how difficult this will be for the family and the employees.”

Toby Bartlett, director of Alan Bartlett & Sons, said: “We made the extremely difficult decision to close our business at the end of the season in June 2021.

“All 230 employees were advised on February 15 and are now going through collective consultation.”