Linton Growing, the containerised plant propagation business established by Clock House Farm in 2020 is reaping the rewards of its second year of providing best-in-class soft fruit plants and trees to support the farm’s commitment to delivering premium fruit grown in-house from the highest quality stock, whilst also helping to meet Clock House’s sustainability and biodiversity targets.
Following the inaugural crop grown at Linton, near Maidstone, Kent in 2020, which was cropped by Clock House Farm in 2021, 2022 represents the second fiscal year where the soft fruit yield harvested at Clock House has been supplied from home-grown plant stock. Berries were picked throughout the summer of 2022 from plants grown in 2021, using sequential planting of cold stored plants, helping Clock House to produce an even profile of reliable production through the year.
In line with Clock House Farm’s original plans, the 30-hectare outdoor propagation area has also grown trees for the company’s new state-of-the-art river heated production site at Gooselands. The business has planted over 100 native trees to further enhance the natural habit in the 8ha biodiversity improvement area which runs adjacent to the polyhouses at Gooselands. Linton Growing also aims to supply other businesses with containerised trees to provide quickly established, economical visual impact reduction for polytunnels, as well as offering a route to achieving improved biodiversity.
By putting in place its own plant growing operation which offers a direct route to procuring plants grown in accordance with Clock House Farm’s stringent quality control and sustainable farming protocols, the farm has successfully reduced its reliance on buying in finished plants from the continent. The Linton Growing initiative therefore not only enables Clock House to reduce its dependence on overseas growers and provide an in-house site for trialling new varieties offering the best genetics, it also signifies a significant contribution towards lowering the farm’s carbon footprint by minimising food miles and subsequently reducing delivery costs. These are benefits that Clock House is keen to share with other growers, who are encouraged to consider Linton Growing as a potential supplier of premium plant stock.
Oli Pascall, managing director of Clock House Farm and Linton Growing comments, “We’re delighted with the results of our second growing season at Linton and urge other growers to contemplate partnering with Linton to achieve similar results. Accessing the best quality plant stock is obviously integral to our continued success so reducing the reliance on any third parties and being able to launch our own growing operation represents a major development for the business. Clock House is now able to control every aspect of the seedling to supermarket journey, a factor that is becoming increasingly relevant to our customers (and therefore other growers) who are keen to access fruit with a proven genuine provenance. By applying our in-house technical growing expertise we can not only ensure every aspect of the production process, affording added reassurance to our customers, we are also playing a part in climate control by cutting carbon emissions associated with transportation. Having propagation on site is pivotal to protecting our reputation for the delivery of the best quality fruit in terms of flavour, size, shelf life and disease resistance – in addition to supporting our mission to act responsibly to protect the environment.”