The Essex Agricultural Society is a registered charity that promotes agriculture and rural related industries through a year long diary of educational and social events. It has been serving the farming community in Essex for over 150 years.

TSP Director Fiona Ashworth, who heads the firm’s Wills and Estates team, is an Essex Agricultural Society Council Member and has been a supporter of the EAS for many years. On 28th June 2017 Fiona joined a small group of members of the Essex Agricultural Society, and, together with some representatives from Writtle College, visited the Valley Grown Nurseries at Nazeing and Tom World Ltd (part of Glinwell plc), to find out more about the production of tomatoes, peppers and other salad products.

Here she talks briefly about her experience of the visits. “For those of you who missed the real life experience the story to be told by Jimmy Russo of Valley Grown Nurseries was one of a family vision that became a reality through hard work, dedication and a dream that was rubber-stamped by the Royal Family when Princess Anne opened the new glasshouses at their plant.

The glasshouses include many features to improve plant growth and health as well as increasing light and water recycling. All water used is gathered on site through a lake and pipe system so the plant is self sufficient. However, according to Jimmy, the support, from the beginning, of their loyal and hardworking staff, is the real secret to their success.

We then moved on to Tom World Ltd, where, after donning disease proof overalls and footwear, we were taken round the tomato nurseries to see at first hand how millions of little red, green, yellow and orange tomatoes are grown for the world markets. It is truly amazing and they have plans for another 35 acre site of glasshouses to assist with their expanding business.

Both Valley Grown Nurseries and Tom World Ltd confirm that their aim is to achieve the highest standards possible through strict adherence to food safety requirements and best working practices. The prevention of root disease is paramount so they both grow their produce in special grow bags to enable a more controlled growing environment.

If you get the chance to see either of these places I would surely recommend that you take it, as it is an experience not to be missed.”

Fiona has extensive experience in the often complex law and tax rules surrounding trusts, estates and inheritance. She is also a member of the Agricultural Law Association and her farming background (she is a farmer’s daughter and married to a farmer) has helped her to develop an agricultural client base which she advises on estate planning and farming family succession. Fiona can be contacted on or by telephone at 01206 217057.

You can find out more about Essex Agricultural Society here.