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Kent Farmer of the Year Winner: Loddington Farm

Loddington Farm is a fifth-generation top fruit farm in the heart of Kent. Our farming methods are driven by biological processes and we are constantly striving to integrate natural systems into our way of growing food instead of using chemicals to produce nutritious, environmentally-friendly food without sacrificing yield and quality.

James Smith

Loddington Farm is a fifth-generation top fruit farm in the heart of Kent. Our farming methods are driven by biological processes and we are constantly striving to integrate natural systems into our way of growing food instead of using chemicals to produce nutritious, environmentally-friendly food without sacrificing yield and quality.

Loddington Farm is run by James Smith. After graduating from Reading University with a degree in crop science, he pursued a career in fresh produce until 18 years ago, when he joined his father on his great-great-grandfather's apple farm in Kent.

In 2020, Loddington Farm purchased the household brand, Owlet Fruit Juice. Producing fruit juice adds value to part of our apple and pear crop that is not within specification for fresh fruit sales. We are also planting other crops, such as Aronia berries, blueberries, rhubarb and strawberries that we can use in our juice blends rather than sourcing from suppliers. We press, bottle and label our juices on[1]site, delivering locally in an electric van.

We welcome wildlife and are proud of our lack of bare soil – instead opting for trees, wildflowers and hedges which provide food and homes for pollinators, birds and mammals.

We recently opened a farm shop on-site where we champion local suppliers, selling seasonal fruit and veg (including our own), sourdough bread, organic eggs and dairy, deli meats and pantry staples. Later this year, our new building will be completed where we can expand our offering, increasing produce grown on the farm to over 50%.

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do here at Loddington Farm.

Rebuilding soil ecosystems is our highest priority, as we believe that continuing to use conventional farming methods is not sustainable for the soil, and therefore for the food that we consume.

To do this, we have removed herbicides and soil-applied fertiliser from our farming systems in 100% of our orchards and 18.5% are now chemical-free, with no synthetic herbicide, soil-applied fertiliser or synthetic pesticides used. We have introduced livestock to build healthy soil by recycling nutrients in a natural way and implemented agroforestry to create wildlife corridors and habitats.

By growing cover crops on any bare soil in the orchards we improve its ability to store carbon and to encourage biodiversity and wildlife.

We have also reduced our reliance on fossil fuels by harnessing wind and solar power and our cold stores all run on modern refrigeration equipment with zero global-warming potential, unlike traditional refrigerants.

We use a fully electric van for local deliveries of our juices and have reduced use of plastics in the business by approximately 50%. The fruit pulp by-product from our juice business is passed on to a local dairy farm for cattle feed, and all carboard used in packaging of our juice is repurposed.