Worth-while and longstanding farming business
Worth – parent company of QV Foods – has been farming the alluvial silts at Manor Farm, Holbeach Hurn, near Spalding since the late 1880s.
Founder Arthur Hovenden Worth, with the help of his father, bought 2,000 acres. In those early days,
simple three-year rotation was clover, potatoes and then wheat. This was extended when eelworm infestation forced a wider rotation.
The Worth family also farmed land around Soham, Cambridgeshire which, in the early 1960s, initiated the retail business by serving M&S with celery.
Although the business was later sold, the relationship with M&S developed to serve runner beans in the 1960s, frozen peas in the 1970s, and continues with potatoes and vegetables today through associate business Manor Fresh.
In 1969 the Worth farming business was instrumental in forming and managing a local potato and vining pea co-operative, Holbeach Marsh Co-operative. HMC included many local businesses who each were shareholders. The potato business served the London wholesale markets with dry brushed QV (quality+value) branded potatoes, and the vining pea operation supplied the freezers. Retail sales of potatoes into the supermarkets started with baking potatoes to M&S in 1979.
After this the potato business expanded rapidly, mainly due to increased retail business with Sainsbury and Tesco. In 1995 the cooperative became a limited company, was purchased by AH Worth, and QV Foods was formed.