In the 1990s we realised that the way in which we farmed meant that we could maintain an organic status, and we achieved our certification annually for 14 years. In 2015 we reassessed our position and took the decision to reduce our organic acreage in favour of a programme of biological, or low-input, soil management.
Our biological approach allows us to use minimal chemical sprays on our low-input crops (such as the raspberry canes). We also add trace elements, microbes, additional fertilisers and nitrogen to benefit the soil as required, which is more restricted under the organic farming method.
We take great care of our plants throughout the seasons. We believe that by reducing any stresses on the plants (and animals) a lot of the common problems can be reduced. The stocks are grown at altitude and our customers tell us that the plants respond rapidly to softer environments and establish quickly. Our customers too have been impressed by the vigour of the plants and the quality of their root systems.
As members of several fruit breeding programmes we have access to many of the new improved varieties, but we also continue to grow some of the old favourites that rightly maintain their popularity. We hold one of the largest ranges of blackcurrant varieties including many of the new, much improved, more disease resistant 'Ben' varieties.
All the plants we sell are grown here on our nursery and we know the health and character of our plants to be good. We ensure that the plants we grow are from high quality stocks, and for this reason we only buy in material at the highest health grade possible to avoid any disease and true-to-type issues.
We are one of a very few propagators who choose to be inspected and certified by the Plant Health Propagation Scheme (PHPS). This is a voluntary scheme run by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
The bush fruits have been grown on from cuttings taken from our PHPS inspected and certified parent stocks and we have carefully managed and inspected them on a very regular basis throughout the growing season.
The raspberry canes and strawberry plants and parent bushes have all been entered into the PHPS Scheme, have been inspected for trueness to type and health on at least two occasions through the growing season, and have passed all the inspections.