On the way up to Norfolk we visited two suppliers: Nurtured in Norfolk and the other was Flourish at Cooks Pen Farm, Hildersham. I have always been a big supporter of local suppliers and these two are very local to where I used to live.
Flourish is on the way out of Norfolk but in a very quiet little place on Cooks Pen farm in Hilderhsam The person in charge of the farm is Calixta Killander who is a highly qualified gardener that’s for sure and really loves her job as you can tell by the passion that comes out of every word she says.
She has a BA in sustainable agriculture and forest management in the USA, spending 6 years studying on organic farms in North Carolina, Massachusetts. Calixta spent most of her time with the Amish and then in Hawaii who never use any pesticides or chemicals on the land as it is all treated as nature intended. They grow a huge range of plants to keep the farm diverse and healthy with vegetables, salads and herbs. All the flowers that are grown here all attract beneficial insects that assist with the pollination of the crops.
She will always farm in the most thoughtful way possible, so that the produce is always delicious without compromising the health and productivity of the farm.
The other magical side of this farm is that they use work horses called Bill and Ben which are Comtois Horses; a French breed that is traditionally smaller and compact however what they lack in height they make up in strength and personality. The reason of the horses is they are much lighter than heavy tractors and so reduce the compaction of the soil as this helps to the vegetables to grow much better.
Using the horses is of course generally slower which is of course a good thing as this means they can tend to the soil and crops with a lot more care and precision. The use of horsepower also stops the need of fossil fuels as the horses run on grass and hay eliminating nasty exhaust fumes, so they can of course guarantee all the crops are grown in clean air.
The horses themselves were imported all the way from their Amish friends in Sugar Creek Ohio so they are using the old plough which makes it look like a historical farm and another upside is that this machinery will never break down.
The produce is especially grown for chefs and work directly with chefs and restaurants all over the UK. All the produce is harvested to order, picked and packed by hand and then delivered in less than 24 hours which guarantee’s the produce is super fresh and keeps its flavour to the maximum.