Family traditions are strong in the Lea Valley, where you’ll come across more entrepreneurial young growers than any other area in the UK. Gee Vee Enterprises are a case in point. Founded by Gaetano and Vincenzina Cappalonga in 1997, initially as an AYR chrysanthemum unit, Netherhall Nursery switched to peppers in 1999 and were joined in the business by their forward looking son John in 2006.John has been the driving force behind an investment of £1.5 M in new glass, with integrated packhouse and office.
John Cappalonga has focussed all his energies into growing high quality peppers at the lowest possible input cost. “Since joining the business, I have been researching ways in which we can grow better quality peppers at a lower cost but at the same time keeping a close eye on our energy costs and reducing our environmental impact. This is the first phase of implementation but I will continue to move the business forward to ensure its future success.”
CMW have been working closely with John to deliver the improved efficiencies he seeks. A thermal screen has been installed incorporating a Klimax-compact slipping clutch system, which gives the dual benefit of a compact package for maximum light benefit when the screen is open and ensures a tight seal when the screen is closed. The material used is Ludvig Svensson’s SLS 10 Ultra Plus - a tried and tested material which has both a high light transmission and high energy saving.
CMW's installation crew utilised state of the art all-terrain scissor lifts to ensure that the mechanical installation could be carried out quickly, safely and efficiently.
Gee Vee have specified a harvesting system using robotic harvesting trolleys. Once full, the trolleys use an induction cable inlaid in the concrete path to deploy themselves at a tipping system within the new packing area. Here the produce is transferred into the bulk containers ready for grading.
Gee Vee also opted for Formflex gutters throughout the new 12,000 m2 glasshouse. Hanging gutters not only improve the husbandry of the crop by ensuring adequate air movement under and surrounding the crop, but simplify the collection and re-use of irrigation water and lead to considerable savings in labour costs. CMW supplied the gutter system together with all the trickle irrigation, mains and sub mains. Conscious of the need to protect the environment and keep fertiliser costs to a minimum, the nutrient is dosed using a Priva Nutriflex, irrigation run-off is collected in a bespoke collection tank and sterilised by a Priva Vialux UV system. Fusion welding of over 1,000 metres of irrigation main ensures a leak and maintenance free water and nutrient distribution system.
New for this installation were side by side gutters that allow greater crop density without compromising light to the plant.
The gutters were formed on site using specialised machinery. The 12,000 m2 in this project were formed and installed in just 3 days by the skilled Formflex crew.