Mallards Farm Market Garden sells a wide range of own grown products through its own shop at Waterham. This is supplemented with high quality fruit and vegetables bought where possible, direct from other local producers. Alistair is the character who runs the whole operation and well worth talking to particularly on the subject of seasonal produce. The information below is written by Alistair:
My philosophy is to offer the consumer a high standard of produce grown using a combination of ‘Old Fashioned’ and ‘Modern’ rotation, cultivation and irrigation techniques. This reduces the intensity and cuts down on chemical use.
The Market Garden sits on the side of Monks Hill. It is believed that this land formed part of the Monastic gardens and has probably been cultivated since Saxon times.
My Grandfather, Arthur Barton bought Little Waterham and Mallards Farms after the Second World War. Following his death in 1969 the farm was sold and my parents Ted and Zena Barten acquired the gardens, which I inherited.
Waterham, Hernhill, Nr Faversham,Kent ME13 9JH, Tel: 01227 751245
The main concept of rotation is that acreage is only cropped four years of every nine. For the first four years land is laid to grass that is grazed by sheep. This helps the fertility of the land. The rotation continues with potatoes being planted in year five, followed by brassicas (cabbage) in year six. In year seven small crops such as runner beans, sweetcorn, courgettes etc are planted. The land then lays fallow for a further year to help rebuild fertility. The cycle of rotation ends with a further year of potatoes before going back to grass for four years.
The use of this rotational program allows farmyard manure to be used. This enables me to significantly reduce the use of chemical fertilizer. It also promotes strong healthy plant growth and reduces the need for intensive spray programs.
I pride myself on being environmentally aware and ensure that whenever possible farmyard waste is recycled. Green waste is fed to the sheep or composted. Waste oil is collected for recycling. Apart from the recyclable plastic punnets used in the shop, as a matter of principle, I will not use plastic on the farm, either in the form of poly-tunnels or as an aid to growing earlier crops or increasing yields.
Monday – Saturday 08:00 – 17:30
Sunday 09:00 – 16:30
Bank Holiday 10:00 – 16:00
Please note that these times may on occasion be adjusted due to workload or weather. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
Kent ME13 9JH
Tel: 01227 751245