In 1986, Howard and I, along with our teenage children planted and watered in the first 30,000 leeks by hand and by 1990, the whole farm was fully organic. In 2004 we were recognised as National Organic Grower of the Year in the Marks & Spencer sponsored awards. To his great delight, Howard had confounded the view of a Ministry of Agriculture adviser that “he must be off his trolley” to be contemplating growing vegetables on this marginal land. For our family, organic growing has always been an application of our faith, and our belief in social and environmental justice.
The farm lies high on the southern edge of the North York Moors. At an altitude of 650ft above sea level, it must be one of the highest organic farms in the country.
Approximately half of the farm lies on sandy loam soils over yellow sand and limestone, the remainder is on black peaty soils over sandstone.
The sowing of seeds takes place in spring, with planting in May & June, and harvesting running right through from August to April. 60 acres of the land is dedicated to wheat, oats and spring barley, about 12 acres for livestock feeding, 20 acres for potatoes and 19 acres for our vegetables.
Newfields Organics is now run by myself and my farm manager John since the death of Howard in 2007.
Conventional food production makes wide use of pesticides, which can pollute water and the environment. Organic food, instead, is produced with natural fertilisers, less energy and more respect for animals that provide it. One way to reduce your exposure to pesticides is to eat more organic food.”
The Soil Association