The family-run farm of Shillingford Organics is located on the outskirts of Exeter. Martyn Bragg’s is the second generation of the Bragg family to farm here and Martyn leads a team who grow vegetables, salads, herbs and fruit – all using methods which demonstrate a passion for encouraging wildlife and biodiversity.
Set in a sheltered valley between Alphington and the Haldon Hills, the Shillingford Organic’s 300 acres of rich Devon red soil is perfect for growing arable and horticultural crops. The farm is all about growing seasonal, organic vegetables, salad, herbs and fruit giving local people a great opportunity to buy healthy, freshly harvested organic produce, which is free from harmful pesticides and chemicals. They also have organic hens on the farm, which produce wonderful, tasty, organic eggs. All the Shillingford produce is available through the farm’s online shop, local outlets and businesses, the weekly Exeter Farmers’ Market, and other local markets and farm events.
The farm has been fully organic since 2000. Forty acres, including 8 polytunnels, are dedicated to vegetables and alongside this are 2 orchards and various agroforestry alley schemes with further apple and fruit trees. Martyn Bragg is a great believer that their exclusive use of green manures and well-made compost coverings ensure an optimal soil biology.
Although active in the online market, the farm does not have a shop at the farm – just an honesty stall at the farm gates. Wonderful reflection of the spirit of the place. To quote proprietor Martyn Bragg,
“We work closely with nature and really encourage people to visit the farm to see where their food comes from. The Farm School is in its second year and is proving to be an excellent way to educate our young, ‘From the Ground Up’. Our online shop has made it easier for people to choose organic and we are proud to supply local people with good, local organic produce that has been grown and cared for on the farm.”
Footnote: Since my visit Shillingford Organics have won the 2017 ‘Best of Organic Market ‘Awards from the Soil Association for Best Organic Box Scheme. The ceremony was held at the iconic Borough Market in London following judging by a panel of experts including chefs, journalists and retailers. This year, there were over 1000 entries across a range of categories. The Soil Association’s Awards are the UK’s premier awards for celebrating people, producers, restaurants and brands working to produce food as in more sustainable are ethical ways.
The veg box scheme is used by Shillingford to create a direct relationship between themselves as growers and their customers and encompasses more than just the aspect of trade. For the customer this means it can be relied upon to be made up of produce which is locally produced, great value, and full of fresh flavour. As such the aim is to give a sense of connection with the source of, and the knowledge that it was not delivered in a wasteful and destructive system of transportation.
For more on Shillingford Organics follow the link to the farm’s website. You will also find Shillingford featured in Unlikley Heroes, my book which documents my visits to alternative farmers and growers. To buy, see the book page
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