“I’m going to be on TV! A little bit excited and a little bit nerve wrecking but earlier this month I was filmed with Rob and Dave from Cannon Hall Farm for This Week on the Farm for Channel 5 talking all about plum picking!
I challenged Rob and Dave to a plum picking competition before they went off to make some plum brandy.
Tune into Channel 5 at 8pm on 29th September for This Week on the Farm.
“On 22nd September HRH Duke of Gloucester, Prince Richard (the Queen’s Cousin!) came to visit Flower Farm to thank myself and my team for all their hard work over the last 18 months and for our work within the community.
We are HONOURED to have been paid a visit by HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux.
Unveiling a plaque outside our farm shop, our royal visitors came to thank myself and the Flower Farm team for all our hard work this last year, and during the pandemic.
HRH learned how to roll his own sausage roll with Sharon, took a tour around the farm, sampled some of Kimberley’s Brownies, accepted a bouquet hand made by Casey and a hamper made by Emily, and then sat down to a private lunch with myself, Farmer John Berryman and a few lucky members of our team.
We cannot thank the Surrey Lieutenancy enough for recognising the work that we have done, and for choosing our little farm as a visit worthy of royalty!
Photos by Andy Newbold Photography
“We were granted a huge honour today – a certificate of appreciation from the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux!
The Lord Lieutenant’s Awards of Appreciation, aim to recognise individuals who contribute exceptional service to local communities – adding real value at every level to the quality of life in Surrey.
Here I am receiving this award from Caroline Breckell MVO, a Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, along with, Anton, Mark, Emily, Em, Raul and Patryk – just some of the Flower Farm team that have worked so hard to support their local community.
“Here’s to the NHS and all their hard work this least year throughout the pandemic.
To express our thanks, on 3rd-5th September we donated our Strawberry Fields Pub Garden to host the Big SASH Thank You weekend.
The Big SASH Thank You was a weekend of celebration funded by SASH Charity (along with our contributions of our site, staff and organisational help) for Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Staff.
“Well this is exciting, but we’ve been given a Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Award 2020 – putting us in the top 10% of restaurants in the UK!
A big thanks to my hard working team for all their efforts this least year and beyond.
Much of what we sell on our farm comes from our fields, or our farming friends nearby, and almost everything from the sausages to the pies is hand made here on the farm.
“Congratulations Daisy Mann for winning our banner competition!
Your design now has pride of place in our Pub Garden for everyone to see.
We hope all your school friends enjoyed their free fruit from Flower Farm too.
“Here I am with 1st Godstone Scouts Group, presenting a cheque of £1,000 to help save The Endeavour
The Endeavour was hand built by Scouts and volunteers in the 1930’s and was based on a 16th century Tudor barn.
The history of the building is fascinating, the framework is part of an old barn and much of the cladding and fixtures came from many Tudor cottages being demolished at the time.
Some of the old timbering has been traced back to an old house where Dick Turpin’s mother was reputed to have lived, the Old Haunted House of Hornchurch, and some say the ghost came too!
A little piece of Waterloo Bridge and a stone from the Houses of Parliament are parts of this building too.
In the Scout Group’s extensive archives they have all the worksheets kept by the Rover Scouts at the time of construction – they recorded over 3,500 man hours of work, and the news of the build even made The Washington Post and the Melbourne Gazette!
It has been an iconic part of the beautiful Godstone scene ever since but sadly is now starting to deteriorate and the scouts are campaigning to raise funds to bring this beautiful building back to life.
If you’d like to join us and donate you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/GodstoneEndeavour
“Here’s a photo of me and my old friend Farmer John.
We have known each other since 1985 when I was just a young boy, John was a friend of my father’s too – that’s 36 years of friendship!
Earlier this week he popped over to talk farming, so we stopped for some scampi and chips (which I myself cooked) to do a taste run for our pub garden at the weekend!
“Donating to Free Cakes For Kids: Tandridge!
Myself and the team are always keen to not only support local causes, but to use our social media platforms to raise awareness for them too.
Free Cakes for Kids: Tandridge is a group of community volunteer bakers in Tandridge who make cakes for families who find it difficult to provide cakes for their child.
So this bag of flour and these six trays of eggs went to a very good cause.
“So last week our farm was turned into a TV set… well, parts of it were!
Yes Netflix came to visit as they were filming on the Oxted Road and asked if they could not only park in our car park but also film on our farm.
Never a dull day at Flower Farm that’s for sure – wonder if they’ve planning any commissions on ‘The Farmer King’… not sure I’m quite as interesting as Joe Exotic!
“If I’ve been a little quiet it’s because the pub garden is finally open!
There’s so much to do on the farm at this time of year, with new arrivals with the animals, crops to plant and to tend to while spring is in full bloom, plus with things finally opening up we are able to welcome you all here to see us again.
I’ll keep posting updates, but they might be short!
“We’ve got some new chicks on the farm!
This photo was taken when they were just one day old – I’ll just leave this photo here then shall I?
“It’s been a little bit colder of late but the sun’s still shining, which brings with it more hope for the summer.
Spring is a wonderful time on the farm, with lighter mornings and longer evenings, we get to do more work outside and even get to enjoy a bit of sunshine.
We’re very much focusing on our animals at this time of year as we are getting ready for the arrival of some new four day old chicks!
And we’re beginning to work the fields now that the rain and snow has left us, with planting season well and truly underway, so lots of drilling and sowing to come.
Spring is often a rush of work to get crops into the ground before the weeds take over, so quickly establishing the crops once the weather gets nicer is an essential part of the process!
And all this is done while nurturing and nursing young animals, and adjusting the food sources for the varying different stages of their young lives.
With the children now back at school, we are looking forward to the future, when all our crops will be in full bloom and our fruit picking fields will be open once again.
Oh and my youngest daughter Antonia has been teaching me how to make sausage rolls… I still prefer eating them though, can’t deny that!
Here’s to brighter days to come…
“Last week we welcomed some new arrivals in the form of some little piglets!
They are very happy in their new home, snuffling around and eating wonky vegetables until their heart’s content.
And they are certainly providing a distraction for my team who all want to see them!
This means we now have cows, chickens, sheep, turkeys and pigs to add to our working farm, along with all the crops that we grow too.
So we are more than just a farm shop – rearing and baking a lot of our produce and cooking and baking a lot of our own produce too.
We love to educate people on where food comes from, and if you’ve ever chatted to any of our butchery or deli staff, they’re only too willing to let you know what goes into what we make.
And if you’re after a recommendation, mine is always the stilton pork pie!
“We picked the winners of our banner competition!
A big congratulations to Betty Martin (aged 5), Daisy Mann (aged 7 and half) and Imogen Dolling (aged 10)
Well done to all of you, and a massive congratulations to Daisy Mann, who is our overall winner.
Thanks to everyone who entered, we really hope you enjoyed creating your designs as much as I enjoyed looking at them all!
“Oh dear, I’m not very good at keeping this blog up to date am I?
Truth be told there’s been less news this year with the farm very much at rest over the winter… of course a farm never really rests, through the months of January and February, after the madness of Christmas we’ve been coppicing in the farm woodlands, removing smaller self-sown trees to allow the more established trees to flourish, as well as removing trees that have suffered from Ash dieback – a very real problem across the UK.
We also spend the time clearing overgrown hedgerows, which will help wildlife nesting in the Spring.
And of course there’s the animals to look after too – but more on that later!
“THANK YOU for helping us raise £175 for St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley
We sold their hand made festive face masks in the shop and that’s how much you helped us raise
A big smile from me and a big thanks to YOU!
“A huge thank you to the NHS staff at Caterham Dene Hospital!
Thanks for patching me up after I had to go to hospital with a rather severe and nasty case of ‘slamming-my-finger-in-shed-door-itus’!
With the NHS already so hugely busy right now, I am hugely grateful to you, so I hope you all enjoy this food package on us – as our way of saying thanks for looking after me!
“Right, that’s it – I’ve decided, the Flower Farm Facebook banner needs to represent more of our community, so we are asking YOU (or your children) to design it – give them something to do while they homeschool!
The winner gets free school meals for a day at their school, a £50 voucher for our online farm shop, their design will appear on our Facebook page AND we will get a printed version to be displayed outside out shop for everyone to see!
Runners up will also get a £50 voucher and their banner on our Facebook page.
Want to know how you can enter? All the details can be found here!
Happy designing and good luck!
“From today until 16th January we’re offering free bread, milk and eggs to anyone who shops with us online.
This is just one of the ways we’re working to support other local farmers and food producers in the community who have been affected by the third lockdown.
If we buy milk and bread, it helps to keep the supply chain going where restaurants and cafes can’t, which in turn works to support other farmers and food producers
It’s a gift for you with your order, or you can donate it to a friend or a neighbour in need.We’re helping our friends so that you can help yours!
“What a year 2020 has been… looking back, it would be hard to imagine what we’ve been through, but as we take some time over the festive season, we allow ourselves some time to reflect.
And I’d like to reflect on the year we’ve had at Flower Farm, and the support we got from our wonderful community…
In March, we temporarily closed our farm shop for the first time in 17 years, focusing our energy on an online delivery service which enabled us to look after those who were self isolating, the elderly, and anyone who couldn’t get to our shop.
Our shop floor filled up with boxes, sticky tape, and people rushing around packing them up with fresh produce ready to be delivered to your doors.
And by gosh – did we deliver – hundreds and hundreds of boxes, every day, for many weeks!
As a farmer I’m used to the rush of the seasons; harvest in summer, sowing crops in spring and turkeys at Christmas – but this seemed to me to be combining the rush of each season into a relentless effort to get everyone fed and looked after in the surrounding communities.
In addition to this, behind the scenes we began to make structural changes to the shop and tea room – to make them safe for social distancing – along with the invention of our outdoor socially distanced pub garden.
And all while we’re still collecting eggs, rearing turkeys, looking after the cows and the sheep, planting the crops – and still very much running the working farm.
You have supported us, so we have worked tirelessly to evolve and adapt, so that we can continue supporting you.
So from myself, I would like to say a big thank you to all our customers far and wide for their support and to my team who have made this all possible.
I wish you all a happy Christmas – let’s stay positive for next year.
“Such a privilege to be asked by East Surrey MP Claire Coutinho if she could come and visit our farm shop with other local councillors and Cannock MP Amanda Milling from Staffordshire, to chat to a farmer about how we’ve coped during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Claire and Amanda enjoyed a tour around the farm and asked questions on how the local community have been supporting us – and in turn how we have been helping them.
It was fantastic to chat to them, and they even asked for a message to be delivered to Boris Johnson himself… I said: Get us back to normal!
“With Christmas being a little bit different this year and a limit on how many people you can have around one table, we decided to sell half turkeys this year – so that you can enjoy all the goodness of a Flower Farm turkey but with none of the waste!
This one cooked up by our Kim looks fantastic (and, it tasted great too!)
“Gift vouchers for the local schools – such a great way to support the community at this time of year.
Our shop manager Emily designed these beautiful vouchers for the school Christmas raffles – if you’re working at a school that wants one, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get this sorted for you!
“Christmas has arrived at Flower Farm!
Our lights are up and we are getting ready for the turkey delivery and collection dates with a big marquee outside the farm shop to help with social distancing.
We look forward to welcoming you all (masks and all!) over the festive season.
“Saturday morning food box donation!
This box of Flower Farm goodies is off to Godstone United Charities, part of Godstone Parish Council, who will send it to a local family in need.
So grateful that we can spread Christmas cheer to all those who need it at this time of year!
“I had to pick myself up off the floor, when I heard the news but you’ve only gone and helped me win the Key Worker Award in the BBC Surrey and Sussex Make a Difference Community Heroes Awards!
Once again, I’m full of gratitude and thanks to all of our customers and the wider community, and I’m so proud to be working with such an excellent team.
I don’t feel like I deserve any awards – as a farmer, I’m just simply doing my job – so I’m just glad that we’ve been able to give back to everyone who has given so much to us over the years.
It’s been a tough year, and community is so important, and I’m so grateful to have this community around me.
“Another week, and once again, some very exciting news to reveal – I don’t know quite how I’ve managed it but I’ve been awarded Pride of Surrey in the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards and I am honestly humbled and amazed!
Not only that but our farm shop got a highly commended award from the judges – myself and the team are completely shocked and just so grateful to all of our wonderful and supportive customers.
A huge thank you from all of us at Flower Farm.
“The Flower Farm Online Christmas Shop is now OPEN!
This year it’s more than just turkeys – you can order your whole Christmas dinner from us – with puddings, cheeseboards and treats galore!
The team have been working very hard behind the scenes (once again) to get this up and running – so do please visit the online shop here, support local, shop early and enjoy Christmas with us!
“The tea room is finally open!
Ok, so maybe I didn’t think it would take *quite* as long as it did to make the structural changes we needed to allow social distancing – but we got there in the end.
With plenty more seating space, the kitchen separate and now connected to our deli, and an online booking system which you can use here , it is entirely COVID safe and ready and waiting for you all!
“Can’t quite believe this, but myself and the team have won a British Farming Award!
We were named as Diversification Innovator (Large) Silver Award Winner at the 2020 British Farming Awards last night – and I am honestly still in shock!
There’s a bit more about what I had to say here – but for now – just a huge thanks to everyone – especially our customers!
“We’ve got some new arrivals on the farm!
Just picked up from our farming friends in Limpsfield… a mix of Romney Suffolk (traditional breed) and Wiltshires (a little more rare!)
… Did you know that the Wiltshire breed have two legs longer than the others as they’re used to being on the steep Wiltshire hills?
“Not-so-baby William found our first pumpkin!
It’s a bit early for pumpkin picking in the middle of summer, but this is definitely some interesting weather we are having…
And as you can see it’s been wreaking havoc on all our crops this year!
Thanks Jacqueline Gold – we loved hearing you talk about our socially distanced beer garden – hope to see you relaxing in the sun with us soon!
“Well, what a nice phone call to get to say that we’ve been awarded:
𝗕𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗟𝗼𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗿 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟬 – 𝗦𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗲𝘆 🏆
In the 2020 Southern Enterprise Awards (hosted by SME News!)
The judges said:
“Flower Farm has demonstrated excellence, commitment and dedication – even in the face of uncertainty. After overcoming such disruption, we believe more than ever, that you should be recognised as Best Local Produce Supplier 2020 – Surrey.”
A big and personal thank you to every one of our customers that nominated us!
“Thank you to Cassie for recommending us as one of the ’10 of the best motorway stop offs’ in The Guardian’s Readers’ Travel Tips.
We can’t believe we are in The Guardian – Cassie wherever you are – thank you, what a lovely surprise!
You can read the full article here.
“BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! 💥
I am so excited to announce that Flower Farm has been shortlisted for Diversification Innovator (large) of the Year Award at the British Farming Awards!
The whole team has got everything crossed to win on October 21st when the awards take place.
Take a look at the full shortlist here: https://www.britishfarmingawards.co.uk/shortlist/
Thanks to every single one of our customers that makes Flower Farm, Flower Farm!
“Asking a favour from some of our farm shop friends… so don’t forget, The Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards nominations are open, and you can nominate Flower Farm for…
Best farm shop and best local / food and drink initiative (COVID award!)
You can nominate us here: https://foodawards.surreylife.co.uk/nominate
And we appreciate all the support that you can give us – every last bit of it!
“We love seeing you back in our farm shop, and we know having to wear a mask is uncomfortable, especially in this heat, but just in case there was any confusion about wearing face masks 😷 in our farm shop…
(And we do realise, not everyone can wear them, for those of you that can though – you know what to do 🙏🏼)
“Our Victoria plums are now ready for picking!
There’s only a few, due to the bad weather at the start of the year – sadly we had so much flooding and then a drought, which meant that there wasn’t many crops to pick.
The weather might be great now but it wasn’t ideal for planting – and sadly many farmers across the country have had the same issues this year.
“Did you see the sunset we had on Friday?
It looked so beautiful as the backdrop to our Strawberry Fields Pub Garden.
The perfect end to the week!
“Our Maize Maze is open!
It takes two whole days to create the maze, from the design, to cutting it, to putting signs up.
Corn is called maize by most countries, which comes from the Spanish word ‘maiz’, it’s a cereal crop that is part of the grass family.
The maze is open 9-5pm and is free entry – perfect fun for the whole family on a sunny day!
“Turkey hatchlings need round the clock care, this little flock here is only one day old!
Turkey eggs hatch in 28 days, baby turkeys are called poults until they are five weeks old.
Female turkeys are called hens and male turkeys are called stags.
And a stag can produce as many as 1,500 poults during a hen’s six month production cycle!
We’re taking good care of our hatchlings at the moment, checking on them multiple times a day.
“Sweet dreams are made of… CHEESE! Did you know that we sell 40 different types of cheese in our shop?
Our most popular? Brie de Meaux, Black Bomber and Stilton Colston Bassett!
The most unusual ones? Charcoal Cheddar (black all the way through) and Inkeepers Choice (cheddar with pickled onions)
My personal favourites? Blue Murder and Red Fox… so now you know what to get me for Christmas! 😉
“We’ve had a wonderful weekend welcoming you all to our Strawberry Fields Pub Garden.
Thanks to everyone who came, braced the weather, ate, drank and spent time with friends and family at a sensible social distance!
We look forward to welcoming you all back some time soon!
“Farming is not just a job, it’s a way of life.
Flower Farm has been my family home since 1974, when my father Peter first opened our fruit picking fields to the public.
Since then we’ve welcomed thousands of visitors to the farm, enjoying everything that we have to offer – from our PYO crops to our farm shop, from our tea room to our bar and pub garden, our festivals and events.
We love feeling like we’re at the heart of the community, and we love giving back to our community too – creating a space for you to make memories that you’ll cherish for many years to come.
We love hearing from you, we love talking to you, and we love watching you enjoy your time at Flower Farm as much as we do!
Our customers have been amazing this year, you’ve supported us every step of the way, and it’s so wonderful to see you all back at the farm, shopping, fruit picking and even enjoying a pint in the sun!
So from myself and the team, to all our customers: a huge thank you again for your continued support – you really are the very best 🥰
“No matter how busy things get on the farm, there is always time for tea…
It’s important to have a tea break, because the farm doesn’t sleep, from the farm shop and pub garden to the turkeys and the chickens, there’s always crops to tend to, new projects to work on – and it’s a seven day a week, round the clock job!
So if I’m not getting some head space watering my baskets, you’ll find me sitting down with a cup of tea, drinking from my favourite mug spending time with Max my cat.
“Our turkey hatchlings have arrived!
Not-so-baby-William (who is our Farm Shop Manager Emily’s son, and is in charge of jumping in puddles, pointing at the letter W in all of our shop signs and eating cake) went to visit them and was shocked to see he was no longer the smallest member of the Flower Farm team!
Turkey hatchlings at this time of the year need round the clock care, so we are all very busy at the moment taking care of them all – it’s like having lots, and lots of new born babies to look after!
“How’s about that for a socially distanced pub garden? 🍻 (By the way, we do have chairs, we just haven’t set them up yet 🤣)
We’ve decided to open up one of our fields as the Strawberry Fields Pub Garden every day of the week this summer. To give you all a space to enjoy some time out the house at a safe distance, with friends and family.
So that we can keep an eye on numbers, you do need to register online if you want to come along – which you can do so here: https://godstoneberry.com/pub-garden/
“The Flower Farm shop is now OPEN!
Seven days a week from 9am to 6pm we will be open – so if you haven’t come to visit us yet – please do!
We’ll still be running our online delivery and collection service, but now this will run alongside the shop – so if you come to collect and want to pick up some extra items that we don’t sell on the website – now you can.
Our PYO crops are now open too, with raspberries ready, and strawberries and cherries hoping to be ready for picking this coming weekend.
Plus every Friday and Saturday morning, Stefan the fishmonger will be back with his fresh fish stall too!
We can’t wait to see you all again and really look forward to meeting some new faces too.
“We have such a fantastically talented team here at the farm, and I for one am proud (and feel very lucky!) to be working with such a fantastic group of people.
While we’ve been adapting to online sales and marketing, we’ve been working on redesigning not only the shop, but our online brand too.
Here’s a photo of our new packaging…
Can you guess what inspired us to create this?
Special thanks to our chief fixer Emily, shop manager and Flower Farm art director for creating this design – it definitely has my seal of approval!
“Here’s to rain… 🌧
We might not like the rain, but at this time of year it’s so good for the crops!
Did you know that May 2020 was the sunniest and driest calendar month on record? 🤔
This means many farmers are in desperate need of rain to save their crops from the exceptionally dry conditions.
So we’re welcoming a little bit of rain ☔️ today, and hoping that if we’re lucky, we might get to see a rainbow 🌈 too!”
“Our strawberry and raspberry crops are nearly ready for picking!
My brother Chris (seen below) looks after the fruit picking crops on the farm.
But how much do you know about the common strawberry and raspberry? Here’s a few little farming facts for you…
A little bit of food for thought!
“We’ve built a tap room!
Yep, The Godstone Brewers now have a new home at Flower Farm, and a big brand new shiny sign to go with it!
This means you can come and enjoy a drink while they brew and watch them hard at work… and soon the barn will be open and we’ll have plenty of fresh beer, live music and food for you all to enjoy too in our big spacious beer garden.
“Painting, tiling, drilling, and wiring… it’s all taking place in the Flower Farm Shop this week!
You might have seen a few photographs on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, of the work currently in progress in our shop and tea room, and if you have, you’ll see that we are nearly ready to welcome you all back.
Raul and the butchers will have a new set up with more space to prepare your cuts of meat, Sharon and the deli team will have a new kitchen to make all your delicious sausage rolls, pork pies and scotch eggs, and Tatiana and the tea room staff will be welcoming you into a new outdoor seating area.
Plus Stefan will be back with his fish stall, and of course we’ll have lots of fresh farm produce ready and waiting for you.
If you can’t wait you can always order online via our website and choose to collect your order – that way you can get a sneak peek at what the new shop will look like!
“We’re busy making changes in the shop!
We might not be finished by the time we open the doors to you all… BUT when we do open, it’s going to look great!
We’re bringing in new fridges, and we’re reworking the shop and deli, to create plenty of space for you all.
And that’s not the only thing we are doing, because there’s work going on in our taproom, with the Godstone Brewers busy building a nice new space for you all to enjoy a drink or two!
Watch this space…
“The tractors are out cutting the first crop of silage 🚜
The grass has been very dry due to all the hot weather, so the rain we got over the weekend helped to drive the moisture content up, which enables the fermentation process of converting grass into silage.
“What came first? The chicken or the egg?
It’s amazing where you find the Flower Farm chickens – it’s almost like they are having a game of hide and seek in the places you find them in!
This one was spotted hiding away near the brewery on Saturday morning, and on Monday? (scroll down to see more…)
On Monday – her eggs had been laid!
Happy chickens, happy eggs!
“What an interesting weekend we had!
it seems the cows decided to have a Sunday stroll… on the M25 😱
Luckily myself and the Flower Farm team were there to herd them back into the field!
Overnight it would appear someone decided to smash the fence, and a rather inquisitive cow decided it was time for a walk.
Quickly joined by a group of her friends, they trotted off down the side of the verge, making their way towards Clacket Lane.
Thankfully I was in the field at the time and managed to quickly, with the help of my team, neighbouring Farmer John and the amazing Highways Agency and Police, return the cows to their rightful field… much to the bemusement of passing motorists.
Thankfully no one was hurt, and motorway closures were kept to a minimum.
I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that helped, including members of the public who got out of their cars – one of them being a vet happened to be driving past and stepped in to help. And again a big thank you to the traffic police and everyone involved!
“Friday 22nd May and it’s my birthday!
I feel very fortunate to be working on a farm, surrounded by my team on my birthday – especially having my daughters Tara and Antonia with me (pictured below).
And I’ve been spoilt rotten by the team, with lots of gifts, so it’s only natural that we spoil the customers too – which we did by sending out a free birthday cupcake with all orders delivered today.
Special thanks to our baker David for making these – we’ve had lots of lovely feedback for you all – and some lovely messages on social media too wishing me a happy birthday.
A very happy farmer indeed!
“On behalf of the Flower Farm team, I was asked to be featured on the Farmers Guardian podcast Over The Farm Gate.
Chatting to their reporter Jez, we talked about all things farming, food production and how we’ve been working to reconnect people with where their food comes from.
If you zoom through to 27 minutes and 33 seconds on the link below, you’ll be able to hear my interview.
Listen here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/id1508553337
“Less than two months ago, we launched our online order system.
Starting with one simple ration box scheme, we promised we would make everything as bespoke as we can, as soon as we can.
Each week we’ve been evolving, adapting, listening to feedback, and making changes based on your needs.
And now, we are proud to present, the all new Custom Food Box: https://flower-farm.co.uk/custom/
Yep, now you can build your own box from any of the available packs on our website, from veg packs to deli packs, fruit packs to treat packs, BBQ packs to breakfast packs.
AND – if that wasn’t enough – you can visit our butchery, deli and farm shop section of the website, and skip the packs entirely – selecting one off items to fill up your cart.
Yes – you don’t even need to buy a box to purchase – you can simply make things a la carte!
Take a browse, ask questions and please 🙏🏼 continue feeding back to us – we’re working very hard to get this right for YOU, so we want you to keep US on track.
Thanks to all our fabulous customers,
“We’ve got a new flock of chickens on the farm!
These are just coming in to lay, the cone on the top of the head is an indicator as it becomes more pronounced and redder as they come in to lay.
Once a chicken stops laying, it’s a natural cycle and they don’t come back for 21-28 days.
“As Flower Farm marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day 🇬🇧, I’ve been through the archives, taking a look at some of the old photos of the farm.
My parents moved to the farm in the early 1970s, when this photo was taken.
It might not be 1945, but it does give you a good idea of just how much the landscape of the farm (and Godstone), has slowly changed over the years!
“Myself and the team are truly humbled… as we have been granted the East Surrey Community Champion award by Claire Countinho MP, member of parliament for East Surrey.
Claire said: “Flower Farm has been ensuring that food and essential supplies reach those in need. They have delivered a wide range of produce across East Surrey and adapted their business to ensure their older customers can call to place an order. In addition, they have regularly donated to healthcare workers across the constituency.”
I’d like to personally thank everyone who has bought from our website, cooked a meal from our produce, read our little newspaper, done one of our crossword puzzles, liked, followed and shared our content on social media, and contacted us over email and by phone.
It really is an honour to be able to help support the community in their time of need, to bring families together at the kitchen table, placing fresh farm produce at the heart of your homes.
From myself and the rest of the Flower Farm team – we thank you.
New trees coming to life 🌿🌲 🌳
Maintaining habitats for plants and animals is a huge part of Farmer Patrick’s job.
Just as we depend on farmland for the food we eat every day – so does the wildlife.
Taking measures to protect the land like this helps to not only maintain beautiful landscapes, but it improves public access – boosting animal health and welfare… and it means farmers like Farmer Patrick are doing their bit to help tackle climate change too 🌍
“Another day and another food donation! This one is being delivered to frontline carers at key London hospitals 🏥 and smaller clinics.
We’ve had lots of requests and are trying to fulfil as many as we can, donating food boxes to those in need.
“We’re running 5k with Godstone Football Club (well, sort of!)
As proud sponsors of Godstone FC, we’re supporting them in their Run 5, Donate 5 and tag 5 – 5k challenge!
The boys have been running 5k and donating £5 to the NHS, so we’ve decided to join them with their challenge.
I’ve agreed to match what the team raises, and my daughters Antonia and Tara (pictured with me below in their Godstone FC shirts) are also running their own 5k challenges to show their support!
“Five dozen eggs have been donated from Flower Farm this week to the 26 Cakes in 26 Hours challenge, with proceeds going to the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity.
Good luck – we can’t wait to see all your creations!
“It’s been an exciting week on the farm, we are busy in the farm shop making up all your orders and on the farm it’s planting, watering and trimming – not to mention tending to the chickens!
We were delighted to see that we were also featured in the Farmer’s Weekly as part of their #FeedTheNation feature.
We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had, and we feel so very lucky to have such a fantastic community behind us!
“We’re donating extra items with our boxes – this is just one of the ways we’re working to support local bakers, dairy farmers and egg producers in our community (and across the nation!)
If we buy milk, bread and eggs from farmers and food producers who usually supply to restaurants and cafes, it means we can help to keep them in business, and no one wastes food.
If it’s too much for you? Donate it to a neighbour in need or a friend. We’re helping our friends so that you can help yours.
“As the sun ☀️ shines down on Flower Farm, the farm work continues…
Today we’ve been busy mowing the lawns, and soon it will be time to plant our pumpkins!
“We’re asking you to donate your delivery charge to the NHS.
For the next ten days we are offering FREE delivery on all our box orders.
This means you can donate the money you would have spent on your delivery to the NHS.
On behalf of all of Britain’s farmers providing the nation’s food – we thank you NHS!
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has bought a ration box from Flower Farm.
I’ve been reading your comments on email, and social media, and myself and the Flower Farm team have been overwhelmed by your response.
We love that we can still keep in touch and communicate with you all at this time, because it helps us shape and evolve our online service based on your needs and wants, but also – because we just like hearing from you!
So THANK YOU to the anonymous texter who communicated with us via BBC 6 Music – giving our delivery drivers and the team at Flower Farm a mention.
We don’t know who the anonymous texter was, but we thank you very much!
“It’s a time for gifting – not wasting!
Our friends at Moose Maple Butter have gifted us some pots of their delicious maple butter… so that we can gift it to YOU!
They saw how we’ve been offering ‘waste not, want not’ items, topping your boxes up with free produce and wanted to join sharing some love in the community so offered us some free tubs of their maple butter to gift to you.
So if you get a pot in your ration box, please give our friends some love on social media to help spread the love all around!
“We’re supporting our farming friends!
You might have received some extra items with your boxes today…
Well, this is just one of the ways we’re working to support other local farmers and food producers in the community (and across the nation!)
If we buy milk and bread, it helps to keep the supply chain going where restaurants and cafes can’t, which in turn works to support other farmers.
If it’s too much for you? Donate it to a neighbour in need or a friend.
We’re helping our friends so that you can help yours.
“As farmers, it’s not just our job but our duty to secure the supply of locally produced food.
In the same way that it is the duty of the NHS to care, or the police to protect, and any other key worker providing an essential service – it is our duty to feed the community.
This is why we’re standing side by side with the NHS, donating free fruit boxes to support local staff, keeping them well fed and healthy while they work.
We are looking after them, so that they can look after you – so now all you have to do is stay home.
Flower Farm is supporting: First Community Health and Care.
“If you’ve had a delivery from the Flower Farm Easter bunnies this weekend, you might notice a few surprises in your box!
… we do hope you enjoy them!
So from myself and the rest of the Flower Farm team:
🐣 🐰 HAPPY EASTER! 🐰 🐣
“To everyone doing something great for the community…
We’re looking for good news stories to go in our happy newspaper: The FlowerWe’re sending out a copy with each of our deliveries, so that we can spread some good news, along with your weekly shop! Farmer Patrick
“Use your loaf… and don’t waste food!
If you’ve received one of our ration boxes you might have found one of these little stickers inside.
As farmers, we hate to see food wasted – especially at a time like this!So if we ever find ourselves left with fruit or vegetables that we think is slightly past it’s best (but still good for putting in a Bolognese or a soup) then we will add them to your box – FREE OF CHARGE – in the hope that you will find some use for it.
“And after a busy few weeks in the shop with our online delivery service, the farming still continues…
On the farm this week we are getting the ground ready for a new crop of strawberries.We’re planting hedges. We’re rolling the fields ready for silage making in the spring, to feed the cattle in the winter. Plus we’ve got a new flock of chickens arriving this month too. Farmer Patrick”
“To ensure that we continue our commitment to supplying food to you all, we have had to to make hard and fast decisions today.
We put many measures in place in order to follow government guidelines.
… Most of you have adapted to the new rules, and we thank you for that, but to the few of you that didn’t:
We asked you not to park on the road – you didn’t listen.
We asked you not to arrive before the shop opens – you didn’t listen.
We asked you to social distance – you didn’t listen.
As a result of this the farm shop, if the shop continues to remain open to the public, it is more than probable that the future supply of food to the community will be compromised along with our farming obligations.
For this reason, as of tomorrow morning the shop is available for online delivery and collection only, starting with a single ration box scheme, which is already currently available on our website.
The safety and welfare of my team is paramount not only for themselves but their families too.
The importance of farmers up and down the country is of national importance along with all other key workers – it is important to remember people are working long, unsociable hours, putting themselves at risk in order to keep food on your tables and the lights on in your homes.
The gallant work of the NHS and its support staff speaks for itself.
These people need our support as a nation.
These are rapidly changing times we are living in at present.
And I wish to take this opportunity to thank my team and all the support workers, suppliers, fellow farmers and food producers who have and will continue to go out of their way to ensure we have adequate supplies of food for you.
We hope you will continue to support us as we put all our online efforts and I take this opportunity to thank so many of you for your kind words and comments to myself and all at Flower Farm.
Myself and my family look forward to the return of normality as I am sure you do too.
“We’re asking you all to please, please, please follow the rules and keep two metres apart.
The farm shop is an old building, and we are doing everything we can to make it work for the social distancing guidelines, with a plan on the floor showing you where to stand.
Please don’t queue on the road if you are trying to get into the farm shop – you can come back at another time, a time that’s a bit quieter perhaps.
The farm shop is open from 9 until 6pm, seven days a week.
We open at 9am and we close at 6pm, so please don’t come before nine, or at five to six: we are tired, we need time to prepare things for you, and most importantly, we need sleep.
And we really need you to respect the amazing hard work that my team are doing by respecting the rules, so that we can continue providing for the community.
“Myself and the Flower Farm team are working very hard to feed all of our customers.
Some of my team haven’t seen close family because they are spending many long hours at the shop, doing the best they can to ensure you have everything you need.
We are working seven days a week, sometimes 20 hour days, like thousands of other people in the country who are all in the same boat.
The same as other key workers, the NHS staff and the people that keep the lights on, it is our duty to go to work, we have no choice but to work to get food on your table.
And we know that we are all in this together – so now we need YOU to help us.
We’ve placed the main pay point outside, so it’s now down to you to keep your distance, as you queue outside in the field – where you can have as much social distance as you like.
And we will be removing any negative comments on our posts on social media, to protect the wellbeing of my very hard working team, who right now are missing their wives, husbands and children.
I thank you for respecting our requests, and for protecting the safety of yourselves and my hard working team.
“So guys this is our flagship ration box scheme.
Myself and the team have scrambled together eggs, meat, milk, beans, veg and fruit in order to assemble this idea quickly.
At present, given the situation and the speed at which we’ve had to work (and my farm team work hard), it’s a one size fits all concept.
Over the next few weeks we will extend the farm produce that we offer.
This is just the start.
A bumpy track may well lie ahead, but a smooth road will be reached.
We’re all in this together,
“While our farm shop and tea room remain very much open, we understand that for some of you, leaving the house at the moment may be tricky.
My team and I are working hard behind the scenes to get our online delivery service up and running – and we aim to deliver this so that you can order on Thursday, for the first deliveries on Friday this week!
It’s gonna be simple to start with, based around the farm – there will be bits of essential items like fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and eggs, and other bits we can get our hands on from the farm and my friends, just so we can get something up and running that helps you as soon as we can.
So to all of you who are finding it a little bit awkward at the moment to get out and about, we think this is a great way to stay in touch with the community and us at the farm, and also get you the essentials you need.
On behalf of myself and the team: keep calm and carry on,
“All the team at Flower Farm have been extremely busy over the last few days, ensuring that the shop is kept full of fresh produce for our many customers.
We have been working closely with our farming friends; people like David our baker, and Stefan our fishmonger who has been out on his boat on the high seas, gathering produce for you all.
We’ll have lamb from the farm, and asparagus season will soon be here, with plenty of fresh produce from our farm keeping our shelves full.
And myself and the whole team are all here, ready to help, as always.
Look after yourselves and each other,