Speciality market garden to showcase best of British agricultural innovation

Jon Hammond
Jon Hammond

A farm with more than a century of agricultural heritage is hosting a unique month-long celebration of British farming expertise on the outskirts of Nottingham.

In August and September Hammond Produce is welcoming local residents and businesses to a market garden featuring dozens of rare varieties of vegetables and herbs where they will be able to sample the produce of the garden straight from the plot at its 700-acre farm, located just four miles from the city centre.

The 15-acre market garden plot has been planted with over 50 speciality varieties of root vegetables, herbs and salad, including shaped beetroots, red kale and three different shades of cauliflower.

By cultivating these unusual varieties, some of which are not currently available in the UK, Hammond Produce hopes its innovative agricultural practice will demonstrate what British farming is capable of in the 21st century.

Guests at this unique event will also be able to sample the produce of the market garden. After being harvested in front of visitors, the crop will be then be expertly prepared on-site using recipes which demonstrate the culinary potential of these rare specialities.

Jon Hammond, fourth-generation farmer and director of Hammond Produce, said: “This unique market garden helps cement our position as innovative and cutting-edge farmers and food producers - we recognise that consumers are increasingly demanding more unusual and speciality varieties of fresh produce and are changing how we work and the types of crop we’re growing to match this trend.”

Hammonds farm more than 3,500 acres in partnership across Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. The business turns over £15 million per year and supplies major grocery retailers, food manufacturers and both public and private sector food services. The rare and unusual varieties currently growing in the market garden could soon be found on supermarket shelves and school dinner plates nationwide.

The farm combines the cultivation of mainstream and emerging crops with the conservation of wildlife and the natural environment.

Hammond Produce is classed as higher level stewardship by Natural England and is accredited with the prestigious LEAF Marque (Linking Environment and Farming), which recognises sustainable farming and food production.

These accreditations highlight its successfully integrated farm management, managing intensive crop production alongside the preservation of soil, water, wildlife, flora and fauna.

Jon Hammond said: “By planting areas of grassland and wild flowers, leaving uncropped strips of land at the side of our fields, creating new and managing existing hedgerows, woodland and wetlands, we’re providing habitats for wildlife both now and in the future. We’re constantly striving to farm in a sympathetic way with wildlife at the forefront of our mind”.