The New Forest Fruit company is nestled in the heart of the beautiful New Forest National Park. 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
The company is led by owner Sandy Booth who joined as a business partner, fully taking over the business in 2008. New Forest Fruit is now in its fourteenth year of trading, selling to leading supermarkets, local farm shops and greengrocers. The farm is situated over three sites which spans eighty hectares. Sandy’s team consists of several closeknit departments, which cover every aspect of the business and really gives the company the feel of being family run.
The growing season at New Forest Fruit starts in February and goes right through to December. The first crops to be harvested are Asparagus followed closely by Strawberries in March, and a small number of Raspberries and Blueberries later in the warmer summer months. The main varieties of Strawberry grown are Ania, Malling Centenary, Murano, Sweetlife, Cantus and Favouri and are all picked due to their good productivity, beautiful flavour, and resistance to disease.
All the Strawberry crops are grown on a tabletop system, which allows the crops to be harvested efficiently and eliminates the back breaking work often associated with Strawberry harvesting. Coir is the growing media used, which is a renewable resource produced from the husk of coconuts, more sustainable than peat. The Coir biodegradable Grow Bags are used for two years then the Coir is tipped out and recycled to grow crops of Asparagus, also on a tabletop system. Over the past three years, techniques developed at New Forest Fruit mean that the use of fertilisers and chemicals has been greatly reduced. Plus, the usage of biological controls has been implemented, which simply put, is the use of natural enemies to control pests and with very successful results.
Major investments have recently been made in the form of three new reservoirs and to utilise these reservoirs, Strawberry tunnels with their own drainage systems have been installed. The system collects rainwater via specially designed gutters and then feeds the water directly into the reservoirs - a perfect way to contribute to sustainable farming practices. This also means that the water supply for all the crops is sourced directly and can be maintained in house. Strawberries are 88% water, so the best quality water is imperative. The better the water quality, the stronger and healthier the plants and fruit can become. To complement the diverse range of flora and fauna in and around the farm, bat and bird boxes and bee hotels have been installed. Also, wildlife corridors have been created to ensure the wildlife continues to flourish.
New Forest Fruit welcomes visitors by appointment. If you are interested in visiting this LEAF Demonstration Farm, then please contact [email protected]. Thank you.