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One Show visits Ipswich to give shoppers a taste of extra special tomatoes

PUBLISHED: 16:58 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:08 28 February 2019

Chris Bavin (second right) with his crew from The One Show on the Cornhill.  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Chris Bavin (second right) with his crew from The One Show on the Cornhill. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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Shoppers in Ipswich have had their first chance to taste the region's latest produce - cherry tomatoes from the new giant greenhouse at Great Blakenham.

Chris Bavin explains to shopper Zoe Rimmer where the tomatoes have been grown.  Picture: RACHEL EDGEChris Bavin explains to shopper Zoe Rimmer where the tomatoes have been grown. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The new salad fruit was offered to the public by Chris Bavin and a team from the BBC’s One Show which will be showing the taste test to the nation one evening next week.

The first crop from Sterling Suffolk’s massive new greenhouse is now being harvested and is expected to turn up in the nation’s supermarkets over the next few days – going head-to-head with tomatoes grown in Holland, Spain and Morocco.

Food producer Mr Bavin, who appears in several BBC shows including Eat Well for Less and Britain’s Best Home Cook, said he was delighted to be showcasing local produce.

He said: “It’s great that we’ve got someone producing great produce like this in Britain – it will give people the chance to buy British tomatoes all the year round.

“It’s very early days for this, but we’re giving people the chance to say what they think of the local tomatoes.”

People were invited to taste the local tomatoes alongside imported fruit – and the Suffolk salad stars were given great reviews by most of the tasters.

The tomatoes have been picked within the last few days after growing in the temperature-controlled greenhouse which is one of the largest in the country.

By using the latest technology and recycling water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nutrients Sterling Suffolk is able to encourage growth of the high-quality fruit without causing major damage to the environment.

It even uses special pink LED lights to mimic sunlight and encourage growth when it would otherwise be difficult.

The first tomatoes started to be harvested a few days ago and are on their way to a supermarket chain now.

During a visit earlier in the growing cycle, Richard Lewis from Sterling Suffolk said he was not allowed to say which supermarket would be selling their stock – but pointed out his name would be on the packaging as the grower when they appeared on the shelves.

While the tomatoes are tasty, they won’t be the cheapest on the shelves – as cherry tomatoes sold on the vine they are premium products. But many tasters felt they were worth a bit extra!

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