We had a sit down with Tamara, at Molescroft Farm Estate which is a family owned and run farm. As valued customers of Peacock & Binnington and formerly a customer of Northfield, she told us all about the working relationship with P&B, but we really wanted to know more about the nursery that they have recently added and how farming and education go hand in hand. Read on to find out more
Please tell us a little bit about Molescroft Farms:
"The farm spans all the way back to 1800s with links to the fishing industry.
The land at Molescroft was bought during the 1940s and we are lucky that some land has been built on allowing us to buy more land and keep the farm to a viable size.
I came back to the family farm in 2003 after running my own tailoring business during my 20s. I had done Engineering at Leeds University so this helped but it was also useful to have previously run a business. I had no real experience in farming so it was a steep learning curve but probably helped me to be open to new ideas. I completed my BASIS and FACTS qualifications which was useful.
Since then, we have added 15 offices, community allotments, solar power and a biomass boiler, ground-source heating, two dog walking fields and the children’s nursery. We also have Frith Farm who rented a field from the farm, running a small community supported veg box scheme growing fantastic quality chemical-free vegetables.
The arable farm is being managed by James Brown and is in the process of moving to Conservation Agriculture, with direct drilling, grass leys and cover crops helping to improve the soil health, and hopefully the sustainability of food production on the farm."
You have added a nursery, what made you take this leap?
"We were already doing a lot of school visits (up to 50 per year) and found it wasn’t a big hurdle to integrate these into the working farm. The nursery was a natural progression and an ideal job for my sister, Camilla, to run. She was already leading corn on the farm during harvest but the nursery was a year-round business and ideally suited to her experience of teaching riding and having her own children.
My little boy went to our nursery until he went to school last September and it was such a relief to know that he was getting such a high quality of care, often doing things I wouldn’t think of doing at home. I also liked the fact that all the food is cooked from scratch. Puddings are fresh fruit which was something I personally felt was important. You can then let them watch television and eat a sandwich, guilt-free, when you get home which is something I needed as a working parent!
As a parent I love that the nursery is a family-run business and every child is important and treated as an individual.
We have just opened a second building for the nursery due to demand for more places. The original building is for 0–3 year-olds and the new building is a 3-5 pre-school."
What is the main role of the nursery and why is it special compared to others in the area?
"We want to share the sort of childhood we were lucky enough to have - the imaginative play from creating dens, to making your own toys, which has been shown to have a huge benefit to children’s development. They also spend a lot of time outdoors which is also beneficial to health both physically and mentally. The children play with natural toys with an emphasis on open ended and child-led play. Children can help to look after some animals on the farm and grow food which is then used in the nursery kitchen. Even just getting to pick apples in the orchard is something many children don’t get the chance to do these days.
It is essential that people in the future are creative thinkers and this sort of early education is shown to help with this."
Why do you think education in farming is so important?
"We think that being engaged with the outdoor world, and nature, is important and must start early as it gives more confidence both personally and longer term. If young people know the basics about food and farming, they are likely to be open to learning more later in life."
How long have you been customers of Peacock & Binnington?
"We have been customers of Peacock & Binnington for quite some time now as we were initially customers of Northfield Agricultural Services for over 20 years, prior to them becoming Peacock & Binnington Halsham."
What machinery / equipment have you previously purchased from us?
"Recently we purchased our JCB Fastrac, as well as two Stewart trailers and our new Väderstad Carrier with Cross-Cutter discs to allow us to perform a shallow cultivation, but over the whole width of the machine. We would recommend Peacock & Binnington to others, P&B is a great local business and has good after sales support which is essential with modern equipment."