As one of the first broccoli growers in Canterbury, Robert Scott started growing quality produce in the 1970’s in Marshlands, on the outskirts of Christchurch. He also grew lettuce, corn, onions, pumpkins, potatoes, peas and carrots over the years. He became a well-known vegetable grower of the region and was one of the first to actually have an on farm chiller.
Years later, in 2003 the management was passed on to Ben Scott, son of Robert Scott.
Ben decided to expand in 2006 and started growing lettuce in the Conway Flats (North Canterbury) on a two hectare block that had been established years earlier by Tom Macfarlane. It was definitely considered a bold and adventurous move by Tom growing lettuce on a then sheep and beef farm. Tom had identified the area as being a unique microclimate with minimal frost pressure.
A couple of years later the Marshland operation was closed and instead land was leased in Dunsandel. It wasn’t until a year later, in 2009 that Scottfresh moved its summer production to Southbridge. On about seventy hectares of land with a linear irrigation system the new summer operation was underway. It was also in 2009 that Scottfresh started bagging lettuce. A huge milestone as it remains our flagship product today. Along with the expansion of the product line in 2009 the company made their biggest investment ever and bought a custom-built vacuum chiller. This rapid cooling technique maintains the quality of the fresh product and increases the shelf life post harvest immensely.
As the years passed by the winter operation in the Conway Flats expanded in stages and until today 60ha of land are under production. This includes the growing of iceberg lettuce, fancy frill lettuce, broccoli and baby leaf.
In 2014 Scottfresh diversified production by growing baby leaf such as baby spinach, green mesculin, kale and even coriander.
The distance between the two operations got more and more challenging as gear and especially staff had to move between locations several times a year. As a result of that the Southbridge farm was sold at the end of the summer season 2016/2017 and a new property was bought near Spotswood, which is only 30mins south of the Conway Flats. The new summer operation has been set up on about 80ha of fresh ground. The focus there will solely be on lettuce and broccoli production.
The baby leaf production will be continued in Greendale over the summer periods. Just 30min out of Christchurch a small crew will run this operation autonomously.
From a small vegetable grower on the outskirts of Christchurch to an operation of over 150 hectares, Scottfresh has seen tremendous growth over the last decade.