Clock House Farm has established a new containerised plant propagation business – Linton Growing – designed to provide the leading Kent-based fruit grower with seamless access to the best-in-class plant stock, enabling Clock House to consistently deliver a secure and quality supply of produce to customers.
The 30-hectare site represents a bespoke outdoor propagation area, focusing on strawberry, raspberry and blackberry production, positioning Linton Growing as one of the UK’s top 10 growing sites.
The decision to create a vertically integrated operation which offers a direct route to procuring plants that have been grown in accordance with Clock House Farm’s stringent quality control and sustainable farming protocols is indicative of the farm’s commitment to expanding its customer base, with zero risk of compromising the high calibre fruit offering commensurate with the Clock House Farm brand. Previously the farm bought in mainly finished plants with the majority coming from overseas.
Clock House Farm has strategic partnerships in place to secure regular access to new varieties offering the best genetics – the propagation site provides an opportunity to maximise the full potential of the varieties selected, to supply plants capable of delivering the optimum results in terms of flavour, size, shelf life and disease resistance.
Linton Growing is headed up by Senior Propagation Manager Andrew Barclay who is supported by two supervisors, two irrigation staff, 30 seasonal labourers and the expertise and support of the Clock House Farm management team.
Commenting on the decision to set up Linton Growing, Clock House Farm managing director Oli Pascall says, “In the last few years we have focused our efforts on creating a strong foundation to enable the further growth and development of our business. Accessing the best quality plant stock is obviously integral to the farm’s continued success and we are keen to safeguard this aspect of our operations and to not be reliant on any third parties. We also recognise the growing importance of being able to reassure our customers of the provenance story behind the fruit that we supply. Having full control of every aspect of the seedling to supermarket journey is a key strand of Clock House Farm’s business strategy; providing us with the opportunity to apply our technical growing expertise and innovative, sustainable farming practices to ensure that Clock House Farm’s hallmark commitment to quality permeates every aspect of the production process, affording added reassurance to our customers.”
In addition to growing soft fruit plants, Linton Growing plans to diversify its containerised production to include shrubs and native trees, some of which will be planted across the business’ eight farm sites in line with Clock House’s firm pledge to encourage biodiversity to help effectively manage and maintain the natural ecosystem.
Linton Growing is forging strategic partnerships with other grower businesses in the UK, to enable them access to the same advantages that Clock House Farm is now able to benefit from.