Home Farm Nacton is situated on the historic Orwell Park Estate on the North bank the Orwell estuary. The farm comprises 2,000 hectares of high-quality agricultural land, 40 per cent of which is now given over to the production of organic crops. The organic quota has increased year by year since the programme`s inception in 1998, due to increased public awareness of dietary health and the provenance of food. More than thirty different varieties of crops are grown year-round by a team of 40 full time staff and up to 150 seasonal workers.
The farm is now run as a company, with a Board of Directors, headed by Gillian Bence-Jones (daughter of the original owner, George Pretyman) and Farm Manager Andrew Williams, who has been responsible for the change to organic vegetable production.
The land at Home Farm Nacton is ideal for organic production; the sandy silt loam produces a high-quality skin finish on root vegetables and is workable most days of the year, allowing for the growth of an early season crop followed by an over winter second crop. The organic harvest now includes cauliflower, broccoli, brussels, cabbages, spring greens, kale and swede. The rotation is carefully managed, and fertility maintained by the addition of mushroom compost, chicken manure and cover crops such as clover. The only downside to the location is the lack of rainfall. To counter this, heavy investment has been made in a series of reservoirs, pumps and underground pipes to ensure all the land can be irrigated.
The farm is at the heart of the local community with its customers ranging from the public to local farm shops, wholesalers, box schemes, pack houses and supermarkets.