James Foskett Farms
Creating extraordinary things with our farmers has become our new favourite hobby. Our Man in the Field, Martin Humphreys (fruit & veg buyer and best friend to our farmers) told us how it all came about. “One day I sat down and said to myself, ‘Let’s try and grow the most difficult veg possible, let’s grow organic sweet potatoes in the UK.’ Everyone said it was impossible in this country but that just made me even more determined to make it happen.” Luckily Suffolk farmer James Foskett is no stranger to a challenge. In 2009 he converted the land his family have farmed in the Deben Valley for over 50 years so he could grow organic crops. A fifth of the farm has been left for wildlife to thrive. Deer, rabbits and countless insects shortcut through the fields’ hedgerows, long, grassy areas and natural, petrochemical-free soil. “We couldn’t exist without wildlife. Without our wildlife we wouldn’t have any crops; they’re much more effective than the pesticides we used when we were a conventional, non-organic farm.” We never doubted how good natural pesticides are at their job, and it’s great to see them hard at work on James’s farm. James and Tomas are very excited for everyone to try the sweet potatoes as the harvest has gone better than anyone could have hoped. A bumper crop that tastes incredible is a win in our books. And what’s James’s favourite way to eat this miracle spud, the first ever organic sweet potatoes grown in the UK? “Just roasted with some olive oil. Organic, of course.” James likes to keep things simple.

Fast forward six years and James still loves a challenge. “We love trying new things,” he laughs as he takes us on the bumpy drive across the fields so we can see how the sweet potato crops are coming along for ourselves. Riding shotgun is his dog, Dizzy, James’s constant companion. The ultimate farm dog, Dizzy has never worn a lead. Tomas is James’s other partner in crime; the head of organic crops at the farm, he’s also a yogi and marathon runner in his spare time. Just the kind of bonkers go-getter who’d be up for a hare brained idea from our Martin. Even though they need almost tropical conditions to grow, plenty of water and a lot of heat, Tomas and James have grown not one, but two varieties of sweet potato for our veg boxes. With names like Carolina Ruby and Beauregard, they sound more like southern belles than higgledy-piggledy spuds. Suffolk’s not known for its tropical climate, so how did they do it? “Little handmade poly tunnels to keep them warm,” Tomas tells us. Warm and cosy. A bit like being tucked into bed at night, then.

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