The UK is the largest producer of peas for freezing in Europe, mainly because of its unique, east-facing seaboard. In the Tayside region of Scotland, where East Coast Viners operates, the natural advantages of low average rainfall and traditional rotational farming are complemented by temperate summers which encourage slower ripening.
The slower ripening not only enhances the natural flavours of Tayside’s famous fruit and vegetable crops, but it also allows efficient food producers like East Coast Viners to synchronise their harvesting operations with the factory-freezing capabilities.
East Coast Viners rents most of its pea-growing land from local farmers, who view peas as a very attractive break crop, introducing nitrogen back into the soil after four or five years of cereal or root vegetable cultivation.
Fitting in with traditional crop rotations in this way gives East Coast Viners regular access to virgin pea soils, with significantly lower risks of disease, above-average yields and no need for artificial fertilisers.
The other significant geographical advantage of pea production in this part of Scotland is the centrality of Dundee (where the freezing facility is based) to the counties of Perthshire, Angus and South Kincardineshire in which East Coast Viners farms.
East Coast Viners’ pea fields are mostly located within a 25-mile radius of the factory, linked and criss-crossed by a network of minor and major roads which facilitate rapid delivery from the field to the factory.