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Author: Amy Riley

Here at R&L Holt, as well as our tomatoes, our customers are at the heart of our business, and we are grateful for all our loyal tomato-community. So, we thought that we’d share 5 facts about what we do here at R&L Holt so you can all get to know us better!

  1.     We are a family run tomato business.
  2.     We have been growing tomatoes since the early 1980s – for over 4 decades.
  3.     All our tomatoes are grown hydroponically using Nutrient Film Technique
  4.     We have 3 sites in the local area, Sandylands (Offenham), Hornsfield (Badsey) and Springhill (Lower Moor).
  5.     We are the largest tomato growers in the Midlands!

If you have any more questions about what we do at R&L Holt, don’t hesitate to ask!

Start your summer right with this tasty tomato paella recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups stock or water
  • 1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges
  •  Salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 minced medium onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 cups Spanish or other short-grain rice

Method:

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Warm stock or water in a saucepan. Put tomatoes in a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Step 2 – Put remaining oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-5 minutes until vegetables soften.

Step 3 – Stir in tomato paste and paprika, cook for a minute more. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is shiny. Add liquid and stir until just combined.

Step 4 – Put tomato wedges on top of rice and drizzle with juices from the bottom of the bowl. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. When the rice is ready, let the pan sit for 5-15 minutes.

Step 5 – Sprinkle the contents with parsley.

Serve and enjoy!

The conventional crops are now well underway. After a slow start mainly due to managing energy carefully, we now have new varieties being grown both in trial and commercially. 

The slow start was due to the unpredictability of the energy markets over the last six months and is something we have to consider when growing tomatoes.

However, the good news is that picks have ramped up this month ready for BTF. This week alone across our sites over 500,000 tomatoes have been picked!  

Why not have a taste of breakfast for dinner with our simple and tasty recipe for an egg bacon and tomato tart?

Ingredients:

  • 200g sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme leaves, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 150g halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 truss tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 6 smoky bacon rashers
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbs pure (thin) cream
  • 2 tbs finely grated cheddar cheese

For the Cheddar Pastry:

  • 125g each plain and wholemeal flour
  • 150g chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 100g cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs white vinegar

Method:

Step 1 – For the cheddar pastry: combine the flours, butter, cheddar, and a pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse until combined but maintain small lumps of butter.

Step 2 – Merge the egg and vinegar in a bowl, mixing with a fork, then add to the mixture. Gently add the dry ingredients until a rough dough forms.

Step 3 – Lightly knead to form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest for 1 hour.

Step 4 – Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle and line a baking tray, pressing into the corners. Trim so the edges overhang the sides by about 2cm. Refrigerate until required.

Step 5 – Preheat the oven to 180°C. Combine sour cream, thyme, and mustard in a bowl and spread over the base of the tart.

Step 6 – Spread tomatoes over the top, leaving six gaps (these gaps are where the eggs will fit). Tear the bacon into rough pieces and tuck around the tomatoes.

Step 7 – Crack an egg into each gap. Drizzle over the cream, scatter with the cheddar and season, then gently fold in the overhanging pastry to form a rough border.

Step 8 – Bake for 30-35 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the eggs are set. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

On 27th April 2022, the flying farmers association visited us at Springhill Nurseries. 

We had 20 light aircraft that flew into Defford air strip from all over the UK. The 56 visitors then participated in a tour of Springhill Nurseries, the crop, and then the biomass CHP plant and AD.

“Great to have a group visit again, so many questions and amazed faces as what goes into growing the perfect tomato!” Roly Holt. 

It really was a honour to have the flying farmers association visit us and we look forward to welcoming more visitors to Springhill Nurseries. 

It’s that time again, our variety of the month for May is the Dunne tomato!

Did you know…

  1. Dunne is part of the Solanaceae tomato family 
  2. The full name for the Dunne variety is Solanum lycopersicum
  3. Dunne is edible to birds
  4. It has poisonous leaves and roots
  5. The lifespan of Dunne is perennial

Did you learn something new about the Dunne variety? Make sure you come back next month for five more facts about our June variety!

Fancy adding a different flavour to your tomatoes? We’ve got you covered with an easy to follow and delicious recipe for garlic fried tomatoes!

Ingredients:

  • 4x large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 crushed garlic

Method:

Step 1 – Gently pan fry the extra virgin olive oil.

Step 2 – Slice the tomatoes evenly through the middle.

Step 3 – Add the halved tomatoes to the pan and allow them to soften, then add the crushed garlic and infuse the ingredients.

Step 4 – Serve and enjoy!

Perfect servers – This recipe is perfect to serve as a starter with any bread of your choice. Also pairs well with small plates such as hummus and kibbeh which will add to the Middle Eastern origin of the dish. 

Add a bit of (mild) spice to your life with this creamy lamb and tomato curry recipe!

Ingredients 

  • Olive oil
  • 6 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 5 pods cardamom, seeds ground
  • 4 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 small chunk of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp mild chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 500g lamb neck filet, sliced into chunks
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • Rice or naan bread to serve with

 

Method 

Step 1 – Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and cook the onion, garlic and ginger until the onion is soft and has colour. Add all the spices and tomato puree then cook for 2-3 minutes.

Step 2 – Add the lamb and rotate it in the mixture for a few minutes until it is opaque.

Step 3 – Add the chicken stock and simmer the contents, cover, and cook for 1 hour.

Step 4 – Add the almonds and tomatoes then cook for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered.

Step 5 – Stir in the yoghurt and heat gently. When ready serve with rice or naan bread.

Enjoy!

It’s that time again! Are you ready for 5 more fun facts about tomatoes?

Did you know that…

  1. There are over 10 thousand varieties of tomatoes
  2. The main thing that tomatoes are used for are sauces
  3. In 2017, China produced 59.514,733 tonnes of tomatoes
  4. Tomatoes can be traced back to 700 AD from the Early Aztecs
  5. In the late 1700s the tomato was branded the ‘poison apple’ as it was believed that the aristocracy became ill and died after eating them

Have you learnt something new about tomatoes today? Come along next time to find out more interesting facts about tomatoes!

Try this tasty tomato tart recipe as an alternative way to incorporate tomatoes into your meal!

Ingredients 

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp soft cheese
  • 375g puff pastry
  • 8 ripe tomatoes
  • Flour
  • Chunk parmesan
  • Anchovies or olives

 

Method 

Step 1 – Turn the oven on to 200C, 180C fan, gas.

Step 2 – Mix the soft cheese and mustard together in a small bowl.

Step 3 – Cut tomatoes into thick slices.

Step 4 – Roll the pastry into a rectangle on a floured surface and transfer the pastry onto a baking sheet. Trim off any excess pastry, mark a border the thickness of 2 fingers around the edge.

Step 5 – Spread the soft cheese into the border and arrange the tomato slices on top. Decorate with anchovies or olives.

Step 6 – Grate parmesan on top of the tart and cook for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!