Fen Peas Ltd was formed as a growers co-operative in 1968 by four farmers in the Boston area. In its early days, the group grew 600 acres of peas supplying JS Frozen Foods, with the peas being processed at Christian Salvesen’s Easton plant. The company operated five trailed FMC viners running the operation 12 hours a day. During the 1970s Bill Belton and Alan Lenton joined and the acreage expanded slightly.
In 1986 all the trailed viners were sold and a new FMC 879 self-propelled viner was purchased to harvest 1000 acres of peas, still supplying JS Frozen Foods Ltd, who in turn were supplying the retail markets as well as their own brand of Farmers Pride.
The area expanded to 1500 acres in 1988 and an FMC 679 was purchased to cover this extra land. The grower base was also expanding and had increased to 18 members with the area of operation now spreading outwards from Boston.
The land base again increased in 1989 to 2500 acres, and it was at this time that Stephen Francis took over the management of the company. The 1990s saw a turbulent time in the pea industry and some groups ceased operating. This allowed Fen Peas to considerably expand its grower and customer base.
Today Fen Peas Ltd is growing 5200 acres of peas in Lincolnshire, from Waddington in the north, Holbeach in the east, Market Deeping in the south and Grantham in the east. The Company supplies Pinguin Lutosa UK (frozen peas), AP East Anglia (frozen peas) and two further specialist customers. All this from a grower base of 82 farmer members, using four modern PMC 979-CT harvesters.
Some of the grower bases are long-standing, others relatively new and some were part of other pea groups such as Rochford Tower Viners, Podded Peas, Holland Pea Growers, Deeping Peas, West Fen Peas and ASA Peas.