Campo Sol was founded by Peter Knight and Peter Waring in 1992 with the objective of growing vegetables to supply the UK market throughout the Winter months. 45 ha of land was purchased in the Odemira region on the South West coast of Portugal. The area was chosen due to the climate - mild winters and temperate summers, for the abundance of irrigation water from the Santa Clara dam scheme and for the large field size of free draining sand land that allowed for planting and harvesting all year around.The land was cleared of scrub, levelled and drained. The first 3 crops grown were Baby potatoes, Baby beetroot and carrots. Peter Waring grew these crops in the UK summer therefore allowing all year around supply to UK customers.
Over the years other vegetables were grown including parsnips, turnips, swede, radish, leeks, spinach and butternut squash and land rented to give a production base of 650 ha.
In 1996 Campo Sol started trialling turf production with 4 ha grown the first year. With the experience of Portuguese landscapers on the EXPO 98 site in Lisbon where building delays caused the mass import of turf from France the market expanded rapidly and today Campo Sol grows and sells 100 ha of turf per year. Two main mixes are grown. A festuca arundinacea /poa pratensis mix for amenity use and a lolium perenne/poa pratensis mix for sports use. The main market for the garden grass is in the North of Portugal and Spain. The sports turf which is cut in large rolls is sold for Golf course work and for football stadiums. Campo Sol has become one of Europes principal turf growers – the largest in the Iberian Peninsula and the only grower in Europe to carry Global Gap certification for turf production. Customers for our turf include the clubs of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico de Madrid, Sevilha, Betis, Valencia, Malaga, Ibar, Porto, Benfica, Sporting, Lyon, Monaco and Dusseldorf.
In 2008 Peter Knight was in search of new crops for new markets as there was intense price pressure in the UK market and improved storage techniques were shortening the windows of opportunity for imported product. It was the product root parsley that led to the introduction to Pavel Pokorny of Bramko in the Czech Republic through Christiaan Reynders from the seed house Bejo. By coincidence the assistant farm manager at Camposol Jana Fachadas was Czech which facilitated communication and a trial of 5 ha was sown.
Throughout successive seasons Bramko became a major customer for root parsley and carrots and with the retirement of Peter Waring in 2016 Bramko became the major shareholder of Campo Sol.
Cropping has been altered to coincide with the production of Bramko in the Czech Republic in order to supply Bramko supermarket customers all the year around where possible.
Campo Sol is accredited by GlobalG.A.P., British Retail Council and LEAF- Linking Environment and Farming.