A herb grower from Shifnal has hit the expansion trail with the help of NatWest Business Banking.

Ten years ago, when local farmers Surinder Pal and his wife Jogiro Kaur established JK Fresh Produce (West Midlands), it was a small concern growing herbs on a ten-acre farm.

Today, the business farms 500 acres and has established itself as the West Midland's largest grower of coriander, spinach, fenugreek, saag, parsley and mint. It also has established contracts with major supermarkets and wholesalers. The business, which currently employs 14 full time staff and 20 seasonal workers, will shortly be creating another 14 jobs following the expansion.

The farm has been supported by NatWest Business Banking and Lombard, and has allowed Surinder and Jogiro to double the production of their crops.

Surinder said: "When Jogiro and I first came up with the idea of buying a traditional farm and turning into a herb growing specific business, we set our selves the challenge of ensuring that all of our produce was of a consistent top quality.

"This really has been the key to our success.

"As we look at where we are today, we can hardly believe how the business has taken off and with the expansion and investment, we can now take the business even further."

It has been helped by Defra's Rural Development Service.

NatWest senior business manager Nick Hill said: "I am absolutely delighted to see how well Surinder and Jogiro are doing after all of the hard work and patience which has gone into their project.

"I know that this latest investment will help them to take the business to a new level.

"Rural business ventures like JK Fresh Produce are vital to the UK's economy and NatWest is there to help in every way it can."