We bought Little Court Lodge Farm, Teston in 1982 after selling all our worldly goods and borrowing heavily from the bank. The farm had had a succession of owners and was sadly neglected. We were young, keen and enthusiastic but even so it was an incredible challenge taking several years of hardship and determination to turn the land into a viable working farm. During this time we shared our small caravan with our dog, two cats and our new baby son. We grubbed out old orchards and replanted new, cleared and cultivated land to grow a variety of market garden crops.
Our first big investment was the acquisition of a secondhand glasshouse which we dismantled and moved to our farm. Tending our crops took every available minute, rebuilding the glasshouse took second place and so took two years to complete. It enabled us to grow fresh early runner beans, beautiful juicy strawberries, tomatoes, salads and so on to supply London markets and our farm shop.
Building the glass house 1984
Just as we were beginning to get on our feet and the farm was taking shape, disaster. The 1987 hurricane hit us hard, destroying the glasshouse, uprooting orchards, totally destroying everything we worked for. It took several months to repair the storm damage and years to re-establish the orchards, the roof was blown off our caravan. We were devastated but soldiered on, we had to. We continued to grow our fruit and market garden crops and also PYO strawberries and raspberries. Due to poor returns from London markets, our main source of income, we decided to sell more of our produce from the farm gate. Our small stall proved popular and due to customer demand we extended our range and bought from other local growers. This led to planning issues which took several years to overcome.
Chris and Denise 1995
We now sell an extensive variety of produce from our farm shop: superb meat including home-made sausages and bacon, fresh bread daily, delicious handmade meat pies, home-made cakes, scones, quiche, jams and preserves, local honey and fruit juices, a large range of ‘COOK’ frozen meals, Salcombe Dairy ice-cream, a good selection of cheeses and dairy, free range eggs, grocery essentials, petfood plus of course our superbly fresh fruit, vegetables, salads and potatoes.
It’s nice for us to know that our son Dave has joined the family business. He has an extensive retail background with Waitrose and will be bringing his expertise to running the farm shop. We all look forward to a bright future.
“Like Father, Like Son”
We take great pride in what we do. The shop is a passion to us and our great team. Pay us a visit – hope you enjoy it.
Chris, Denise and David Farmer