About The Green Pea Company
The Green Pea Company is a farmer co-operative with ~240 members who all growing peas for Birds Eye’s dedicated freezing operation at Hull. The plant at Hull represents the largest majority of Birds Eye’s UK pea production.
The joining together in the co-operative allows the farmers to efficiently plant and harvest the crop using specialist equipment required.
The Green Pea Company currently harvests 45,000 tonnes of high quality peas over approximately 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) covering a wide geographic area in East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.
Peas are grown on the 240 grower’s farms as part of a crop rotation which means that the pea crop is only grown once every 6+ years in a given field. This leads to a huge logistical exercise in planting the crops and then harvesting them at exactly the right time to ensure the Birds Eye quality is achieved. To aid this the large area is split into areas and within which teams work to get the job done.
An Historic Co-Operative
The Green Pea Company was formed in 2006 from the merger of five smaller pea growing groups that where all providing high quality peas to Birds Eye in Hull. This move was the latest in a long relationship between the farmers of East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and Birds Eye.
The first pea season at Hull factory was in 1967 predating the Humber Bridge which opened in 1981, just one group ran that year based in the North Ferriby area.
In 1968 another two groups where formed being Walkington Trading Company and Beverley Pea Growers. By 1971 there were three more groups formed, Driffield Pea Growers, Howdenshire Pea Growers and Holderness Viners making a total of six.
With the opening of the Humber Bridge in 1981 it was decided to close the Grimsby factory and concentrate the processing operation for both banks of the Humber, at the geographically well placed factory sight at Hessle.
Over the next few years the vining operation improved, firstly with the move into self-propelled viners, which were then subject to continued modifications and improvement.
This resulted in greater output, crop recovery and quality, this in turn meant the acreage grown and tonnage harvested could be increased without a further increase in groups.
In the early 90s there was a further increase in acreage and tonnage when Unilever decided the Hull factory should provide its Italian frozen food company with peas to achieve this there were now seven groups now including the North Lincs or Lime Group each with two harvesters operating and the supporting teams.
In 2000 in the interests of efficiency and costs the number of groups was reduced to 5 each with 3 harvesters.
Meet Our Farmers
There are 230 growers within the cooperative, all producing high-quality crops. Find out more about some of our farmers using THIS LINK to our interactive map.