By Ian McConnell

A FAMILY-RUN fresh produce, farming and haulage business based in Perth is targeting expansion after securing a six-figure funding package from banking giant HSBC.

Stewarts of Tayside, one of the UK’s largest growers and packers of swede, has invested in new machinery to “significantly boost the scale and quality of its production”, the bank said.

HSBC added: “Its new, advanced vegetable-handling machinery will see a 25 per cent increase in the tonnage of swedes it is able to wash and package.”

The new machinery will extract soil and stones to enhance the washing process before employees trim the vegetables by hand.

Liam Stewart, managing director at the Perth firm, said: “The new equipment has been critical to our success over the last 12 months. Not only has it enhanced our production grading capabilities and efficiencies, but it has also reduced our carbon footprint and helped to avoid waste, which has meant more swedes making it to supermarket shelves. We’re an ambitious company and have grown year-on-year since starting out.”

John Robertson, at HSBC UK, said: “Stewarts...champions great local produce, and the improvement that it’s made to its production line stands it in good stead to manage sudden and unexpected shifts in demand like this last year has presented.”