The New Forest Fruit Company was established in 2008 and is located in the New Forest National Park in Hampshire. The focus is on producing high quality fruits over a long season from March to December.
Farmer: Sandy Booth
Address: Newhouse Farm, Church Lane, East Boldre, Hampshire, SO42 7WS
Member since 2000 and LEAF Demonstration Farm since 2000
Certification: LEAF Marque
Located in the historical New Forest National park, the New Forest Fruit company is a soft fruit growing business specialising in strawberries, asparagus and a new crop, blue honeysuckle. Strawberries are the main crop produced with different varieties coming from California, Italy, Holland, France and Spain. Strawberries are grown in a Coir substrate (the material that surrounds a coconut shell) which is renewable and ecologically sound and all rainwater is collected and reused on the site. As well as the Strawberry production, blue honeysuckle berries have been introduced and are grown to make jams and chutneys. The location of the farm enables the crops to have a long growing season, from the beginning of March until the middle of December. Glasshouses are used for the first and last months of the growing season, whereas polytunnels are used for the main period. This crop protection provides better continuity of supply during inclement weather.
Following LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management principles, high quality fruit is grown with care for the environment including measures such as solar energy production and rainwater collection. Wildlife and biodiversity are continually monitored on farm and measures are taken across the site to enhance habitats. Wild bird populations are thriving in numbers and species diversity around the farm. Around the sites, bee hotels, bat boxes and bird boxes have been installed, as well as creating wildlife corridors and beetle banks and undertaking an annual baseline biodiversity study to ensure the trend for wildlife flourishing continues.
The use of synthetic plant protection products is minimised in production areas in favour of natural alternatives including biological control and good husbandry- garlic is grown for example within cropping structures as a deterrent for pests.
Use of new technology is incredibly important to the company, first exemplified by moving away from soil grown strawberries to substrate grown. Wet probe technology is used to monitor the substrate moisture and EC levels, as well as temperature, humidity sensors in the field to open and close doors automatically.
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