Meet the Producer: Spindlebrook Farm

Hen and Elliot's market garden is a part of Spindlebrook Farm, which is made up of a diverse mixture of habitats, including a brook, a naturally regenerated woodland, 5 large ponds, streams, meadows and ancient elm hedgerows. It's an oasis of wildlife, "something we are extremely keen to maintain and encourage" says Hen.

"We don't raise animals for meat but do have a rare breed flock of sheep to help with the conservation management of the flower rich meadows, and we also have ducks, dairy goats and chickens"

Sprindlebrook farm is on the outskirts of the picturesque heritage market town of Modbury, in the South Hams area of South Devon, which is only a few miles from the beautiful South Devon coast and magical Dartmoor.

"To grow healthy nutrient dense vegetables, you need healthy soil" explains Hen, which is key to the Spindlebrook Farm ethos.

Hen and Elliot try to minimise soil disturbance, "there is no ploughing, heavy machinery or other deep tilling on the farm, which also reduces fossil fuel use" says Hen. "Instead, all our work is done by hand, using traditional hand or human powered tools, including some clever non-mechanised modern tools".

They also keep the soil covered as much as possible, which minimises exposure of soil to elements, and reduces erosion of top soil.

Hen explains that "if you keep things growing in the soil as much as possible, plant foliage protects soil, and the roots help feed beneficial soil organisms, all of these principles keep the soil nutrient dense".

Growing intensively on a small scale without heavy machinery, using organic no-till principles, helps Hen and Elliot to build up the soil life, creating abundant gardens full of naturally nutritious vegetables and salads.

On the farm there are no harmful chemicals: Fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides which all harm soil organisms.