The Story of Holt Farm

The Thompson family have been farming fruit and vegetables at Holt Farm, in Great Oakley near Colchester in Essex since 1948.

We are specialist growers for the oriental foodservice sector and tree fruit like apricots, as well as growing apples and pears for retail. We also produce award-winning apple juice Cotchel, and Reliquum gin and apple brandy using fruit grown on the farm that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic and closure of restaurants and pubs we are no longer able to supply the hospitality sector, so we have completely transformed our business to offer home delivery of fruit and vegetables to the local area. We have crops in the ground that were bound for restaurants and suddenly no demand so the new box scheme will ensure that the produce doesn’t go to waste.

Our ambition is to make sure that people have access to fresh produce without having to leave their homes and to keep some of our staff employed.

Our fruit and vegetable boxes include some produce grown on the farm such as rhubarb and spring greens, topped up with essentials from Spitalfields Market. The boxes contain salad onions, spring greens and rhubarb from Holt Farm and over the coming months customers will find luxuries like heritage tomatoes which were being grown for Michelin-star chefs; salad leaves like sorrel and lovage, fresh chick peas and fruit including figs, plums and apricots and several unusual citruses Meyer Lemons, Calamondim and Finger Limes.

We have also been working on sourcing more local produce and working with other local growers like Fairfields Farm potatoes and local strawberry growers. Holt Farm has also teamed up with other food businesses including Essex pork farm Wicks Manor Pork, Hillfarm Oils, Crude Coffee and will soon add local artisan bread, milk and eggs.

The combination of our own produce and the delicious food & drinks from local producers has prompted the suggestion we are becoming an online farmers market. We couldn’t be happier with the idea!