Organic and LEAF marque vegetables from Suffolk

Home Farm Nacton Conventional Cropping

The majority of our farm is growing conventional crops under the Leaf marque certification; most UK supermarkets expect this standard along with the Red tractor assured produce scheme. We have numerous audits annually to satisfy our large scale customers that we are continually reaching the standards set and this also covers our conventional bulk crops such as cereals, potatoes, onions, sugar beet and oilseed rape.

Home Farm Nacton Organic Produce

What is Organic?
This question has more than one answer, some people say its farming with ethical concerns for the land but others believe it is restricting farmer’s ability to use many useful technologies. You might want to research it yourselves, for example with our certificating body website www.soilassociation.co.uk but below is Home Farm Nacton journey to organic production:
Organics at Home Farm Nacton
We started our first conversion to Organic in 1998, with 17 acres (6.9ha) after selecting the most productive land, with a sandy silt loam soil that produces the best skin finish on root vegetables and has the ability to hold on to the nutrients. This land also lends itself well to organic cropping as it is workable most days of the year, allowing us to grow an early season crop often followed by an over winter second crop. During the conversion period we established a crop of grass and clover, and then in 2000 we planted our first organic crops of potatoes and broccoli. Following on from the success of these we then went in to a period of planned conversion which took us to the acreage we have today of 305 (123ha).

Over the past fourteen years we have grown a wide range of organic vegetables including cauliflower, romenscu, broccoli, brussel sprouts, pointed, red, january king and savoy cabbages, spring greens, red and green kale, cavolo nero and swede. We also have grown potatoes, leeks, onions, red and golden beet, carrots, sweetcorn, fennel, kohl rabi, celery, celeriac, lettuce, vining peas, artichokes and asparagus. All the above are produced under Soil Association certification (number G4705 / GB-ORG-05).

We work hard to keep the fertility up on our organic land with a well-planned rotation and inputs of organic mushroom compost and chicken manure. We also establish cover crops at every opportunity between cash crops.

The farm has made heavy investment in reservoirs, pumps and underground infrastructure to insure all the organic land is very well served with water.

Over the past fourteen years we have built up a wide customer base. We serve all the major multiples as well as box schemes, organic wholesalers, restaurants and processors.

Our ability to grow large scale crops while maintaining quality to supermarket audit levels is almost unique and some of our organic produce has even been exported to Germany and Scandinavia.
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Asparagus

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Although now widely available all year round, the start of the British asparagus season often signals the start of summer, with the verdant shoots emerging from late April through to June. We harvest spears from mid-April for six weeks and in subsequent years you can harvest for eight weeks. All our asparagus is harvested by hand labour.
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Beetroot

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The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant. The usually deep red roots of beetroot are eaten either grilled, boiled, or roasted as a cooked vegetable, cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar, or raw and shredded, either alone or combined with any salad vegetable. Beetroot is an excellent source of folate and a good source of manganese. We grow the majority of our red beet for a company called James White who process them for juice. We drill our Red Beet at the end of May and harvest it at the end November/December.
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Broccoli

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Broccoli is high in vitamin C and dietary fibre. It also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium. It is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

Our entire Broccoli is grown from transplants raised in glass houses, they are then planted in the field. We select different varieties that mature at different times of the year to give us a continuity of supply. We focus on producing early season brassicas in late May/June and late season beginning in November and growing through the winter until March.
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Brussel Sprouts

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Brussel sprouts – you either love ‘em or hate ’em!

We grow early conventional sprouts that are planted in March and put under fleece and harvested in August. We also grow organic sprouts for the Christmas market that we plant in May and harvest in November, December and January.

Sprouts are a rich source of vitamin C and folic acid. Four times the amount of vitamin C than an orange, and 44% of your recommended daily amount of folic acid.
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Cauliflower

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All our cauliflowers are grown from transplants raised in glass houses which are then planted in the field. We select different varieties that mature at different times of the year to give us a continuity of supply. We focus on producing early season brassicas in late May/June and late season beginning in November and growing through the winter until March.

Cauliflower is low in fat, but high in dietary fibre, folate, water, and vitamin C.
We grow organic and LEAF marque cauliflowers.
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Cavolo Nero

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Cavolo nero is an Italian cabbage with dark green leaves that have a good, strong flavour. All our cavolo neros are grown from transplants raised in glass houses, they are then planted in the field. We select different varieties that mature at different times of the year to give us a continuity of supply. We focus on producing late season from mid-November and growing through the winter until January.
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Kale

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All our kale is grown from transplants raised in glass houses, they are then planted in the field. We select different varieties that mature at different times of the year to give us a continuity of supply. We focus on producing early season brassicas in late May/June and late season from mid-November and growing through the winter until March.
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Leeks

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Leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct flavour – quite harsh when raw (only very young leeks are eaten this way) but, when cooked, very delicate, like a mild onion but with a hint of sweetness. Two thirds of their length is white and firm, and this is the part that is mainly eaten. The rest of the third is made up of the leaves (flags), most of which is discarded. All our Leeks are grown from young plants that are raised else where, the early ones coming from Morrocco. Planting is a specialist operation for which we have delevoped some of our own purpose built machinery.
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Onions

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Onions may bring a tear to your eye and a pungency to your breath they will also certainly bring delight to your taste buds. The onion, known scientifically as Alion Cepa is, on the surface, a humble brown, white or red, paper-thin skinned bulb; yet, despite its plain looks, it has an intense flavour and is a beloved part of the cuisine of almost every region of the world. Like garlic, are members of the Allium family, and both are rich in sulphur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odoors and for many of their health-promoting effects.

Our earliest harvested onions are grown from small onions called ‘sets’ which we grow on to produce a bulb that is between 60-80mm in diameter however the majority of our onions are ‘drilled’ and grow from seed. Planting takes place in February and March, the sets crop is harvested in July and the drilled crop in September. We then ‘cure’ the crop in computer controlled stores that manage the heat and humidity to produce the finished bulb you see in the supermarkets.
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Pointed Cabbage

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Pointed, hispi, hearted or sweetheart cabbage as it is sometimes known is a type of green cabbage with green leaves and a pointed head.

All our pointed cabbage are grown from transplants raised in glass houses, they are then planted in the field. We select different varieties that mature at different times of the year to give us a continuity of supply. We focus on producing early season brassicas in late May/June and late season beginning in November and growing through the winter until March. All our brassicas are hand harvested by skilled labour who selects individual heads for harvesting as they reach the optimum size.
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Potatoes

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Potatoes, especially eaten with the skin on, are an excellent source of a wide range of nutrients, particularly potassium and iron and perhaps surprisingly vitamin C. They’re also high in fibre and packed with carbohydrates. As such they’re a great component in any balanced diet.
We grow salad potatoes which are a small potato as well as early set skin main crop varieties. Our salad varieties are Maris Peer, Perline, Venezia and Nicola. The main crop varieties are Desiree, Jelly, King Edwards, Marfona, Maris Piper and Panther.
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Quinoa

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Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wa’, is a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains. Cooked quinoa seeds become fluffy and creamy, yet maintain a slight crunch. It has a delicate and subtly nutty flavour, versatile for breakfast (as a cereal), lunch (as a salad) or dinner (as a side). It contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein source. Quinoa is therefore an excellent choice for vegans who may struggle to get enough protein in their diets. We drill it in April and harvest it in September.
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Romanesco

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Romanesco broccoli resembles a cauliflower but is of a light green colour. Looks aside, Romanesco is delicious. Its flavour is somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower, with a sweet, vegetal nuttiness – and a bitter edge that cauliflower can have. Apparently, children tend to like it for this very reason.

Like all brassicas, Romanesco is packed with good things: super-rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K & fibre.
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Savoy Cabbage

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All our savoy cabbages are grown from transplants raised in glass houses, they are then planted in the field. We select different varieties that mature at different times of the year to give us a continuity of supply. We focus on producing early season brassicas in late May/June and late season beginning in November and growing through the winter until March.
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Vining Peas

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We grow all of our vining peas for Anglian Pea Growers (http://www.anglianpeagrowers.co.uk/). We are their most southerly grower on light land and therefore we are usually at the start of the drilling and harvesting program.
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