Potatoes are James Foskett Farms most important crop and around 700 acres of ware are grown each year. The whole crop is marketed through East Suffolk Produce (ESP) based at Low Farm, Bromeswell. Presently over 50% are marketed to GreenvaleAP and Branston to be packed for Tesco and Sainsburys. The rest are marketed to Morrisons, QV Foods, Manor Fresh, Solanum, Linroyale, IPL and various other packers who pack for all the multiples and major catering outlets.
To produce top quality packing potatoes the Farm has invested heavily in modern planting, harvesting and grading machinery as well as making use of up to date technology on such things as irrigation monitoring and RTK precision steering on tractors to give more accuracy with applications. We also employ an independent potato specialist to supply advice and agronomy.
Potatoes are all harvested direct into boxes and sent direct to the customer or graded into different size bands, chilled and dispatched next day.
Varieties include Maris Peer, Annabelle, Bambino, Charlotte and Carlingford which are all grown as salads or scrapers, Marfona and Estima which are grown for early bakers, Maris Piper, Lanorma and King Edwards which are for early pre packing and Mayan Gold which is used for the specialist or finest range.
The kind climate and sandy soils in East Suffolk enable us to grow early crops of potatoes which are generally sold straight off the field in summer. Very few crops are stored because we struggle to achieve good skin finish. Up to 200 acres of crops are fleeced every year to promote earliness and protect the plants from late frosts.
James Foskett Farms are members of G’s Growers and market all their onions through the pack house at Ramsey in Cambridgeshire for Tesco’s and Marks and Spencer.
The whole crop is drilled in late February and March with 55% brown and 45% red varieties, then carefully managed during the growing season to hopefully produce a firm 60 to 80 mm onion to harvest in late August and September.
Harvest rates depend on dry weather so that windrowed crops have time to dry in the sun before being picked up and graded into our 3.5 ton boxes and placed into the stores for drying and cold storage.
James Foskett Farms have control of 7250 tons of modern cold box storage and conditioning facilities which are suitable for holding crop dormant until May and early June the following year.
Onions are a very challenging crop to grow and rely on favourable weather conditions to achieve good quality onions. Supply and demand is also very dependent on world markets.
This is a crop many Farms in this area grow because of the close proximity of the British Sugar factory at Bury St Edmunds. High yielding varieties are grown to produce quality beet with minimal impurities to ensure maximum sugar yield.
High yielding feed Wheat varieties that require low inputs and are relatively drought-resistant are grown on our light land and are generally grown for animal feed.
Malting Barley both Spring and Autumn drilled is grown on the farm for the Brewing industry.
All cereals are marketed through Fram Farmers/ADM either spot or via their well run pool’s, this helps ensures quick movement at harvest and we have the comfort of knowing all grain is covered against bad debt.