Berry Farming Ltd
Berry Farming Ltd looks after our primary production of blackberries and strawberries in the UK. The strawberry crop is grown at Wicks Farm near Arundel. Although the farm was only set up in 2018, its berry production has already been widely praised in the media for its innovative and sustainable growing methods, as well as for the quality of fruit it produces.
Wicks Farm was set up in 2018 with the intention of focusing on the growing and harvesting of fresh berries using innovative and industry disruptive growing techniques. Our first harvest was in 2019, and since then, the farm has thrived with now 5.6 hectares of protected hydroponic strawberry production, as well as 1.2 hectares of blackberry production spread over three greenhouses around the Chichester area.
Our Berry Production
We use our patented vertical growing technique for our strawberry crops and because of this, our crop yields approximately five times more berries per unit area, meaning we use only 20% of the land to produce the same amount of berries when compared to traditional techniques. We use hydroponic growing methods, meaning our plants are cultivated in water. This way, we can control our crops’ nutrition to ensure they are as healthy as they can be. The hydroponic method also makes it easier to eliminate weeds and reduces risk of pests and diseases attacking the crops. As passionate strawberry growers, we work with a specific set of varieties to suit our production unit as some varieties perform differently hydroponically compared to table top production.
For blackberries, our focus is to identify and grow a set of varieties that can compliment the limited number of sweet eating blackberry varieties available to grow in the UK. Again using the hydroponic growing method, we are able to ensure our blackberry crops get all the nutrition they need to grow and thrive, making only the juiciest fruits to be offered up to our customers’ tables.
What makes us sustainable?
Here at Wicks Farm, we use our patented vertical hydroponic berry production which has a 90% lower carbon footprint than traditional table-top production and uses over 50% less water. We are also able to recirculate the water that we use for the hydroponic growing system, reducing the overall amount of water we use to grow our crops, amounting to 80% less water use than traditional farming. In addition to saving water and reducing our carbon emissions, we also save food miles associated with imports through utilising LED lights to extend the growing seasons of our berries into the early spring and late autumn. Not only does this make our berries extra fresh and tasty, but it also takes a positive step towards a better planet.
Meet the team
For our strawberry production, we have 30 full time team members at Wicks farm who are joined by a further 55 seasonal workers in the summer months. Working on our blackberries, we have 3 full time workers and 22 seasonal additions to our team to help keep production running seamlessly throughout the year.