promoting best quality British produce
Boxford (Suffolk) Farms have been growing Fruit on the Suffolk and Essex border for 70 years. The business itself started trading in 1938 and has been involved in many types of farming over the years such as arable, organic, fruit and livestock.
Founder Devora Peake (1915-1999) F.R.Ag.S MBE was the driving force behind the business for nearly sixty years and together with her husband Bill, always believed in the benefits and quality of their products. Four of her children, Jonathan, Susanna, Tamara and Carmella, and two grandchildren, Robert and Octavia, are actively involved in running the business today, and along with the Farms Manager Robert England (a former Tesco small grower of the year), still share these beliefs by actively growing and promoting best quality British produce.
The farm itself is unique, growing over 40 Different Varieties of apple with a balance of new modern, and old traditional, orchards, all of which fit well with the local environment. One of the first to supply Morrisons and Sainsburys with ‘traditional’ and unusual English Varieties, the farm sometimes has to pick and grade the apples directly into the tray in the orchard in order to supply the quality required.
Our new orchards, which are increasing year on year, are some of the most progressive and innovative within the British top fruit industry, making the most of new technology and growing techniques such as hail nets and fertigation to reduce inputs and maximise life and yield of the trees.
The farm also produces approximately 150 tonnes of Strawberries and 45 tonnes of Raspberries. 2004 saw the planting of 3 ½ Acres of Blueberries grown in naturally acidic soil on the farm, with a further 3 Acres planned in 2007/08.
The soft fruit is mainly grown on New Home Farm, which is sited in the very good soil area of Ardleigh, Essex, as area with a rich and interesting heritage of horticultural production in small to medium sized farm plots, and is perfectly suited to soft fruit growing.
State of the art irrigation from our own water storage reservoir minimises water use and wastage, whilst continuing to produce the best quality fruit.
Production of strawberries starts in May and goes through to November. This extended season is made possible in our climate by utilising new varieties such as Christine (early production), Malling Opal and the ‘finest’ variety, Jubilee (late season), as well as the favourite consumer variety Elsanta. Christine and other new varieties also have the added advantage of being naturally disease resistant, reducing the need for soil sterilisation and some fungicides.
A vital part of sustaining the season and the British soft fruit industry is the sensitive use of polytunnels on the farm, which guarantee the crop, minimise wastage, increase yields, extend the English season therefore reducing food miles, and reduce the need for fungicides. The plastic that we use on farm is all recycled and the tunnels are sited well out of view behind planted alder windbreaks in what is traditionally a glasshouse growing area.
Raspberries start in late May with early ‘Glen Ample’ and finish with the autumn bearing ‘Polka’. Tulameen (Finest), Octavia, and Cardinal are also grown on the farm.
This year we were awarded national Top Fruit Grower of the Year title at the (2015 UK Grower Awards)[http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/boxford_suffolk_farms_named_top_fruit_grower_of_the_year_1_3973772]
We are planning to construct a small shop (shed style) at the entrance to our recently acquired glass houses in Lawford, Ardleigh. The farm shop will be staffed during busy times and by way of honesty box during off peak hours. We plan to sell direct to customers, produce from our farms including: Strawberries, Cherries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Apples and Asparagus. We also have apple wood logs from our farms which we plan to sell.
Brick Kiln Lane,
East Of England Members