Back in 1989 Anthony and Christine Snell bought 100 acres of bare land and began growing vegetable and salad crops. In 1998 the decision was made to focus on soft fruit production. Today the farm covers 450 acres of beautiful South Herefordshire countryside. Over 2,100 tonnes of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blackcurrants are grown and packed on the farm.
The focus has always been on growing the best flavoured varieties for retailer’s premium lines. The quality and richness of the soil, together with the dedication of the workforce and farming expertise of Anthony and Christine produces a recipe for nurturing tasty fruits.
The fruit is sold both fresh and frozen to major premium high street multiples as well as direct. A large proportion of the blackcurrants are grown for Lucozade Ribena Suntory Ltd to produce Ribena.
At Windmill Hill we take our environmental responsibility and public relations very serious. The farm has been at the forefront of research initiatives, often leading the way with pioneering trials. Examples of initiatives taking place include:
- ‘Integrated Pest Management’. On the farm we introduce beneficial predatory species into crops and carefully manage the climate under the Polytunnel to create the optimum environment for controlling pests. Overall this allows us to significantly decrease agro-chemical application and increase fruit quality.
- Polytunnel rainwater collection and recycling system provide water to irrigate the farm crops.
- Technology allows us to carefully monitor moisture levels in fruit beds. Using this live data we make crop irrigation decisions therefore applying water to crop requirement and ensuring no water is wasted.
- Our packhouse has Solar panels which supply renewable energy to the freezer and packhouse. These silicon modules produce no noise pollution or harmful gasses during operation; in addition the silicon is entirely benign and available in abundance.
- We have a continual hedgerow and tree planting plan as well as numerous wild flower meadows all of which increase bio-diversity. The farm also has over 100 bird nest boxes.
- All waste fruit is sent to our local Anaerobic Digester (AD plant) which produces low cost, low carbon renewable energy.
We also ensure we give back to the community through:
- Annual Open Farm Sunday.
- Hosting organised groups such as schools and agricultural societies. In June 2016 the farm opened its gates to 60 members of the women’s institute who picked strawberries for charity jam making.
- From July 2018 the farm will become a LEAF Demonstration farm.
The farm and packhouse carry out many accreditations including:
- BRC (British Retail Consortium) – grade AA
- SEDEX – the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange member.
- Ethical Trading Audit compliant.
- Red Tractor – Produce assurance.
- Soil association (Organic Blackcurrants)
- Tesco Nurture Gold.
- M&S Field to Fork Gold Standard.
- LEAF Marque (Linking Environment And Farming).
Our fruit has won many accolades:
- UK Soft Fruit Grower of the Year for 2016.
- UK Edibles Grower of the Year 2016.
- National Fruit Show 2016 – 1st place with Maravilla Raspberries.
- M&S Farming for the Future Awards: Outstanding Producer 2016 Award for the England and Wales region.
- National Fruit Show 2016 – 1st place with Driscoll Jubilee Strawberries.
- Finalist in 2016 Farmers Weekly Awards: Specialist crop producer
- Great Taste Award 2014 for Windmill Hill Fruits Frozen Raspberries