CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Growing brassicas in Wilmington

PUBLISHED: 08:43 01 November 2015 | UPDATED: 08:43 01 November 2015

Toby Williams

Toby Williams

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Wilmington-based farmer Toby Williams on growing everything from Brussel sprouts to blackberries together with his brother Max.

Name: Toby Williams

Job title: Farmer and grower

Where? Wilmington, near Dartford

What sort of farm is it?

It is predominantly arable, fruit and vegetables.

Tell us about the business

We have about 150 acres and are located just about 17 miles from central London, making us one of the farms closest to the capital. The farm is devoted to arable, fruit and vegetables. When I took it over in 2004 the concentration was on the production of cabbages for Waitrose plus courgettes and runner beans aimed at the wholesale trade.

My brother Max joined me in 2006 and we have developed the business and now grow a wide range of brassicas.

These include summer, winter and pointed cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, Brussel sprouts, runner beans, Tuscan kale, 
calabrese, spring greens – and indeed quite a lot more.

We also grow a wide selection of fruit including raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. The arable crops mainly consist of winter wheat, spring wheat and field peas.

Who or what was 
your inspiration?

I am not from an agricultural background but from a very early age I was very 
passionate about farming. Stanhill Farm is the realisation of determination, hard work and good fortune.

How long have you 
been in farming?

For 18 years, but my interest began very early in my life – as far back in fact as 
I can remember.

Have you had any training?

I haven’t had any formal training, but I learned a lot when I began work at a farm in Ruxley in 1997. I have undertaken a huge amount of research and read numerous books. I never stop learning.

How do you market?

We opened the Farm Shop in 2009 and it goes from strength to strength. A lot of our clients are regulars and most of them live within a 20-mile radius, although people travel from as far away as Canary Wharf to buy from us.

We operate a box scheme within a radius of approximately 10 miles, and our online sales/delivery service is increasing all the time. We also supply all the London wholesale markets. Max drives to market three nights a week and I drive the other three.

How many people 
do you employ?

One full-time member of staff plus Max and I - and then it depends on the time of year and the day of the week. At weekends, when we are especially busy, we have four or five people working in the shop. We like to employ local people whenever possible and we also have a very good team from Lithuania for the summer harvest. Our teams are very hardworking and loyal.

Describe your working day

I normally start early, about 5.30-6.00am. 
I begin in the office to plan operations 
according to what is ready to harvest and in relation to the orders we must fulfil. Our produce is always harvested when it is in perfect condition – that is one of our core values.

Produce goes direct to our Farm Shop or is packed ready to take to market. The rest of the day I may be tractor driving, drilling or spraying – it really depends on the time of year. If it is one of my evenings to drive to market I will finish and be home by 12.30am.

Any children following 
in your footsteps?

I don’t have any children. Max has two very small children and it’s far too early to say if they will be interested in the farm.

Marks out of 10 
for job satisfaction?

It is challenging, but I love it, so it’s a 
10 all the way! w

Get in touch

Stanhill Farm, Birchwood Road, Wilmington, near Dartford DA2 7HD

01322 669711 or info@stanhillfarm.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Kent Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Kent Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Kent Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

From Napoleonic forts and wartime shelters to ancient chalk mines, we explore some of Kent’s underground visitor attractions

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Wandering through a festive market with mulled wine in hand is one of the pleasures of the season, so we have picked some of Kent’s best Christmas markets to do just that

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Steam trains, vineyards, tea rooms and a surprising maritime history. We take a look at all this and more on offer in tempting Tenterden

Read more
October 2018
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Being so rich in history, it is hardly surprising that Kent is also a hub for hauntings and ghostly activity. We have gathered 9 of the spookiest locations in Kent to visit if you dare!

Read more

It may have been swallowed up by Greater London, but it still feels more like an idyllic Kentish village

Read more
October 2018

A small town with a friendly, village feel, West Malling is the perfect combination of old and new

Read more
October 2018
Monday, October 1, 2018

There’s still time to enjoy the autumn season with its plentiful harvests, half-term fun and glorious colours

Read more
October 2018
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Explore the fascinating 600-year-old buildings and architecture of Cranbrook which was once an important centre for textiles

Read more

A popular choice for commuters, Sevenoaks has history, culture, a thriving high street and a reputation for being one of the best places to live in the country

Read more
September 2018

Known respectively as the Capital of the Weald and the Crossroads of the Weald, rural treasures Cranbrook and Hawkhurst are the closest of neighbours

Read more
September 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Latest Competitions & Offers

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search