Henry Foskett was a first Generation farmer who came to Bromeswell and bought 180 acres at Low Farm in 1955. That year he married Joanne and started a farming partnership trading as H&J Foskett. Cropping in the 50’s and early 60’s was based round malting barley and sugarbeet with potatoes, carrots and cabbages grown for Covent Garden.
Irrigation was installed in 1964 and was crucial to the profitability of the Farm and effectively turned very poor grade 4 land into useful vegetable land. Water is still one of the most important resources to farming in East Suffolk.
James joined the Partnership in 1979 after doing a three year diploma course at Writtle Agricultural College and travelling the world for a year. Guy joined the partnership in 1981 after studying at Shuttleworth Agricultural College but soon became heavily involved with G.R.Greens, a cricket bat cleft-producing business bought by the partnership in the mid 80’s. Guy now successfully grows cricket bat willows and produces clefts which he exports all round the world. Guy now trades as Foskett Willows Ltd.
James married Belinda in 1986 and has four daughters.
James Foskett Farms was formed in 2005 out of the partnership of H&J Foskett.
Through gradual expansion the land base now covers 2600 acres and is made up of owned and rented land within a 35 mile radius of Low Farm, mostly in the Deben Valley. Potatoes are the most important crop to the business with onions not far behind. Other crops include sugarbeet, carrots, cereals and organic vegetables.
There is now modern crop storage at Low Farm for 9100 tonnes of produce as well as modern grading facilities, blast chilling, a weighbridge and farm office.
Apart from James and his wife Belinda, who is company secretary, other members of staff include:
Mike Shapland who is overall Farm Manager and Director.
Nik Tonev is the Organic Manager.
Mihai Dumitrescu is Financial Manager
Stuart Burch is Workshop and Operational Manager
Julian Cotrau runs the graders, yard and stores.
Alison Ware – office Admin.
We have 16 tractor drivers.
There are up to 72 Romanians on site during the summer.
Marketing of the crops correctly is as important to the business as growing it. You have to be a marketeer, coming up with the right goods on the right day, with the right quality to suit the customer.
To help the business market their produce, it’s very important to have long term commitments with customers, to that end we have a 100% commitment to ESP (East Suffolk Produce) who market all our potatoes to various potato packers, but presently a high percentage go to Greenvale AP, Branston, Morrisons, QV Foods, Manor Fresh and Solanum.
We are members of G’s Growers who market our onions, beetroot and some organics. The conventional carrots go to Agrimarc on a partnership deal and the organic carrots to RBO. Many organics are marketed through the Box Schemes like Riverford and Abel & Cole and the green beans go through Wealmoor. Cereals go through the Fram Farmers harvest pools to get quick movement.
James Foskett Farms buys all the farm inputs through Fram Farmers, a farmer-owned buying cooperative based in Framlingham. Having over 1250 members, mostly in East Anglia but also round the country, they have huge buying power and are able to make sure their members are buying competitively-priced inputs – this has been essential in the development of the business.