The Royal Visits


Princess Royal Visit 2017

The Princess Royal visited a new glasshouse in Nazeing, Essex, which is the largest built in the Lea Valley since the 1950s.


She toured Valley Grown Nurseries on Wednesday with co-owners Vince and Jimmy Russ, who explained how they were investing in the nursery to increase production of top quality sweet peppers and tomatoes for British consumers.


She also got to see the packing and grading area, where automated trolleys are used to bring produce out of the glasshouses.


The Princess Royal unveiled a commemorative plaque and signed the same Lea Valley Growers’ Association visitors book that her grandmother, The Queen Mother, signed when she visited the Lea Valley in June 1959.


She also met nursery managers and workers and invited guests, including National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president Meurig Raymond, Essex County Council chairman Councillor John Aldridge, and Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst.


Vince Russo said they were “pleased” and “honoured” to host the visit.

“Her visit allowed us to demonstrate how we are investing in the latest technology and techniques to grow sweet peppers and tomatoes with the best quality and maximum shelf life to the British consumer, he said.


“She appeared to be genuinely interested in the growing process, including finding out more about the automation we have introduced throughout the new glasshouse.”


Lea Valley Growers Association secretary Lee Stiles said: “This new glasshouse represents an exciting development for the Lea Valley and we were delighted to have the opportunity to tell Her Royal Highness all about it today,” he said.

“Much has changed since the Queen Mother’s visit almost 60 years ago, but one thing that has remained constant is the enthusiasm and commitment of our growers to produce the best quality fresh food for the British public.”


Duke of Kent Visit 2011

His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent visited a Hertfordshire glasshouse on Tuesday (22 February 2011) as part of celebrations marking the centenary of the Lea Valley Growers’ Association. (LVGA).


The Duke toured Smallford Nurseries in St Albans, operated by Glinwell Plc, a major grower of cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes under glass.


He was welcomed by Glinwell director Joe Colletti and LVGA chairman Gary Taylor and spent more than an hour at the 50 acre site. During the visit he met staff and industry representatives, including NFU vice-president Gwyn Jones, looked around the cucumber and tomato houses, and heard about the history of growing under glass in the Lea Valley.


Memorabilia shown to the Duke included photographs of the last LVGA royal visit, when HRH the Queen Mother came to Hertfordshire to mark the association’s golden jubilee.

Before he left, he was presented with an engraved crystal salad bowl commemorating the occasion, as well as a selection of salad crops.


Gary Taylor said: “After 50 years a royal visit was long-overdue and we were delighted the Duke was able to join us today to help celebrate 100 years as an association.


“This demonstrates in one nursery most of the relevant protected edible crops grown in the Lea valley, including tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers.


We were able to show the Duke the whole process of growing, grading and packing and it was an excellent business to showcase UK horticulture, just a stone’s throw from London.”


Glinwell director Sam Cannatella said: “We were delighted to welcome the Duke to Glinwell and the visit went very well.


This was the first time he had visited a glasshouse and he was very interested in everything that goes on here.


Other LVGA representatives meeting the Duke included president Nigel Copping, committee member Nick Giardina, David Everett, Tony Stevenson and treasurer David Harker


Queen Mother Visit 1959

Her Majesty Queen elizabeth, The Queen Mother paid a visit to the Lea Valley and made a tour of the Nurseries in Cheshunt & and Turnford (see film footage above).

Contact us

Lea Valley Growers Association

37-39 Turners Hill


Hertfordshire, EN8 8NP

Secretary - Lee Stiles

Twitter: @Leavalleygrower


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