Looking to the future
The Watercress Company (TWC) has returned to its roots and committed to supporting Hampshire Fare, with a three-year sponsorship of the county’s local food group.
Watercress has been grown commercially in Hampshire since the 19th century. Before modern production, using only potable mineral-rich spring water, the Arle in Alresford was one of the principal streams used for growing watercress with five growers listed in the directory for 1890.
With the expansion of dedicated watercress farms fed by spring water, Alresford soon became the capital of watercress with large quantities being sent by stage coach to London and later by train on what became known as the ‘Watercress Line’.
Several of these farms now form part of award-winning The Watercress Company, founded in 1994 by bringing together a series of smaller businesses to secure the legacy of watercress farming in the area.
Currently, much of the watercress grown in Hampshire is locally packed for national distribution. However, this is about to change, as responding to a huge demand for watercress in Hampshire and the surrounding counties, the company is preparing to open a dedicated facility in Hampshire to serve the demand for Watercress and baby leaf salads.
Tom Amery, managing director of TWC, explained: “Watercress farming is part of Hampshire’s roots and heritage. We are delighted to be able to serve the local area and make Hampshire the watercress hub of the UK as it was back in the 19th century.”
Tracy Nash, commercial manager of Hampshire Fare, said: “We are thrilled to have The Watercress Company on board as a corporate partner. Watercress is a key part of our county’s heritage and having pioneering growers backing our work is really exciting.
“Together with our joint vision, next year is going to be an exciting time for the county. Hampshire Fare is celebrating 25 years next year and it is the 10th Alresford Watercress Festival in 2016. Watch out for lots of special events taking place throughout 2016 to celebrate our anniversary.”
Visit www.hampshirefare.co.uk and follow @hampshirefare for the latest local food news, events and competitions. To find out about watercress growing, visit www.watercresscompany.co.uk and follow @TheWatercressCo