North Yorkshire-based herb and salad specialist Herbs Unlimited has invested £200,000 in new equipment.
The firm, based on a 92-acre farm just outside Thirsk, celebrated its investment at an open day this week which attracted chefs and food companies from around the UK.
The company supplies the catering, hospitality, food processing and retail sectors, employs 45 permanent staff and has a £4m turnover.
Yorkshire Provender, Eat and TCS are among its many clients.
Herbs Unlimited’s managing director Alison Dodd said: “We invited chefs to see the farm for themselves and to learn more about the speciality fresh herbs and flowers grown here and their uses. We hope to inspire chefs to bring something new to their menus. We supply our product to many food manufacturers and the hospitality sector throughout the UK but we can also supply direct to chefs.
“Interest in fresh herbs has grown tremendously in recent years but we can’t afford to stand still.
“We are constantly innovating our product range and a significant investment of £200,000 in new machinery will see us increase the size of our packhouse by 2018. This will enable us to optimise opportunities for growth in the wholesale markets and through the increasing nationwide popularity of food boxes.
“We have also invested in a second tranche of solar panels to increase the company’s sustainability.”
The open day was designed to celebrate the versatility of herbs and edible flowers and to inspire chefs to use them in more creative ways. Guests were given a tour of the farm and its extensive greenhouses while enjoying a taste and smell of the wide array of in-season speciality herbs, flowers and salad leaves.
Award-winning chef Stephanie Moon produced taster canapes which highlighted different ways to use the fresh speciality herbs and edible flowers grown on the farm.
She said: “I’ve been working with Herbs Unlimited for a number of years but I still get excited about the sheer variety of herbs and flowers that they grow.”