History

Hill Farm PYO has been established for over 40 years. The first crop grown in the early 1970's was sweet corn. Before this, the farm had been a traditional mixed arable and livestock farm, growing wheat ,barley and sugar beet, along with around 50 beef cattle. Paddy's parents, John and Jill, we're first generation farmers and moved to Hill Farm in 1962. It was their foresight that created the opportunity to market farm produce directly to the public, and even let them pick it themselves.

The sweet corn proved so popular that they soon decided to plant the first raspberry canes in 1976. The infamous drought that year claimed the vast majority of all of the new canes, and that was nearly the end of the PYO experiment. Thankfully their luck turned, and the enterprise was expanded over the next few years to include strawberries and all of the other fruits available from the farm today.

Paddy and Susannah grow a wide range of varieties of each of the fruits, with the aim of extending the picking season. This is especially true of the strawberries, with around 8 varieties spanning the season from early June to late July / early August. All of the varieties will have a different taste and appearance so there should be plenty to suit all tastes.

Some of the traditional farm buildings have been converted to offices and studios, and host such diverse companies as a specialist courier service, a vintage crafts workshop and a builder’s office.

The farm also hosts a small, 5 van, caravan site which is part of a network of similar sites for Caravan Club members.

All of these diversifications mean that the farm is a lively and humming place where something is always going on.

We also value the environment greatly, and have a Natural England scheme in place that protects the hedgerows and watercourses, preserves natural grassland, and provides wild bird feeding areas.

The arable side of the farm comprises 250 acres of wheat and oilseed rape, and has been contracted out to another local farmer. This means that he uses his machinery and labour to grow the crops, in return for a share of the profits. This is a very common practice now for smaller farms, where the huge costs of the machinery is hard to justify.

It also leaves Paddy and Susannah free to concentrate on the rest of the farm.

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History