We enjoyed a fascinating and enlightening talk by Marion Regan from Hugh Lowe Farms about strawberry farming. Marion described how the family business has grown from supplying berries to the traders in Covent Garden in 1893 to the current thriving business with a turnover of £300 million. Customers include Waitrose, Morrisons and Marks and Spencer and for the past 25 years sole supplier for Wimbledon Tennis Championships.
Farming practices have evolved to include growing in substrate and using Hydroponics with less use for chemicals, less disease and pest infestations. The polytunnels (we love to hate them) provide a microclimate that enables customers to eat excellent quality fruit for a longer season.
One third of the 700 hectars is used to encourage biodiversity using wildflowers and woodland to attract birds and insects for environmentally friendly pest control, pollination and home for endangered species. There is also a huge concern about the use of water and storage in the farms own reservoirs also helps local wildlife. The aim for Zero Carbon Footprint is going well in line with 2030 government Targets.
There is so much more to learn about modern farming. Food for thought, what will it be like in the next 50 years?
Please keep in touch with Hugh Lowe Farms on Instagram @hughlowefarms