Vitacress Salads has been celebrating the work anniversaries of six of its UK Farming Team, totalling an impressive 170 years between them.

Having joined the business on Valentine’s Day in 1972, Andy Roberts – Watercress Planning & Quality Manager, has worked for Vitacress for a staggering 50 years with five of his colleagues also reaching between 20 and 30 years’ service each. “From day one, I felt part of the team”, says Andy. “I was told that the watercress business was going to undergo some radical changes in the coming years… a world of opportunity would be opening up. It was because of this vision that I stayed.” Throughout the years, Andy experienced many changes; from mechanisation with use of the first harvester, to learning about growing quality crops and being the first to add salad to a bag “We were taught to never forget that we were providing food for people to eat and if we wouldn’t eat it, then don’t cut it. But it was incredible, you simply didn’t buy any salads in a bag in those days – it was revolutionary.”

The team, who work at farms across Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, was recognised for dedication to both the company and to growing quality produce, including watercress – which from its Latin name, directly translates to ‘nose-twister’ due to its peppery taste.

“We want to thank the team for their hard work and loyalty to Vitacress over the years.  They are experts in their field and have used this knowledge to enable Vitacress to grow great-tasting, healthy produce in an environment which is enhancing nature” said Kees Van-Poortvliet, Growing & Procurement Director.

The celebration was held at a local haunt in the village of St Mary Bourne where the farm managers were given personal gifts up to the value of £500 such as golf clubs, a laptop and even a snowboard!