Charles Barter Obituary, Death – Charles Barter was a prominent person in the British watercress industry. He passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness, and the Alresford Watercress Committee announces this news with a heavy heart. In the 1930s, Charles’ father, Leonard, created Golden Springs Watercress Farm in Tincleton, Dorset. It was there that Charles first started working in the 1960s. The watercress business has been in Charles’ family since the 1930s. In the 1980s, he had by that point fully taken over the operation of the company and had gone into business with Peter Mills as a partner.
Shortly after that, B&M established a packing plant in Alresford, Hampshire (which would subsequently become known as Alresford Salads) in order to provide clients with watercress that had been efficiently packaged. He had a passion for tinkering with machines and came up with some innovative pieces of apparatus that were ahead of their time but are now considered standard equipment in their field. Additionally, Charles was the first person in the watercress farming industry to investigate the prospect of developing farms in Spain.
Near the late 1980s, he began conducting tests on property in Jerez, and he later founded Royalcress SA with the intention of assisting in the maintenance of year-round supplies of watercress for the British market. The Watercress Company was established after Charles sold the B&M firm to Peter Old, an old acquaintance from Dorset, in 1994. This transaction led to the formation of the company. Charles served as medical director from 1994 until 2007, after which he continued to serve as an active director up until the time of his passing. All of the people who had the opportunity to collaborate with him remember him with great fondness.
Under his leadership, The Watercress Company was able to corner between 60 and 70 percent of the market for watercress in the United Kingdom thanks to his management style, which consisted of knowing when to delegate tasks to subordinates and encouraging them to find their own solutions to problems on their own. Over the course of his more than half-century-long membership in the NFU Watercress Association, Charles served as chairman of the organization on multiple occasions. He supervised the development of a watercress code of practice, which resulted in a DEFRA-funded and recognized Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice, to ensure the safe and reliable production of watercress.
During this time, he helped to drive change within the industry by being closely involved with the seed breeding program, which vastly improved the yield and production of crops. He was also closely involved with the seed breeding program, which greatly improved the yield and production of crops. In later years, Charles led an effective campaign to have watercress designated as a Traditional Seed Grower, which resulted in the unique, time-honored practice of cultivating watercress in flowing spring water receiving recognition and legal protection.
Additionally, Charles was a founder member of the Watercress Alliance, a marketing group that was supported by The Watercress Company in addition to Vitacress and Bakkavor. The Watercress Alliance was established in 2002 with the goal of reviving watercress sales, which had reached an all-time low by the end of the 1990s. The Watercress Alliance was successful in turning around the fortunes of the watercress industry by using the slogan “Not Just a Bit on the Side.”