With the deaths in January of cucumber agronomist Derek Hargreaves, aged 73, and tomato grower Chris Harvey, 75, the greenhouse industry has lost two of the leading lights in protected salads production.
After starting his career lecturing at Askham Bryan College, Derek joined ADAS as a horticultural adviser. Although his expertise spanned a range of crops he became best known for his knowledge of cucumbers and was subsequently appointed the Ministry of Agriculture’s national cucumber specialist.
In 1991 he left to develop his own crop consultancy and over the last 30 years made a huge contribution to the industry’s progress by helping to establish the Cucumber Growers Association (CGA), and as a member of the British Tomato Growers Association technical committee and AHDB Horticulture’s Protected Crops panel. “The real measure of his success is appreciating how different the glasshouse industry is now compared to 30 to 40 years ago,” said the CGA.
“Crops are almost unrecognisable and the amount of technology adopted to achieve this is due, in no small part, to Derek’s vision and tenacity.”
Chris Harvey ran Buckland Gardens Nurseries, at Broadway, Worcestershire, in partnership with his wife Janet. Operating 1.6ha of glass, theirs was the epitome of a family nursery in the 1980s and 90s and one which was recognised for readily adopting new technology.
Picture caption: Derek Hargreaves