The Sanderson Family have been farming at St John's Farm for over 70 years. The farm is set on 1600 acres of the beautiful Brecklands of Norfolk about 5 miles SW of Swaffham. The farm is mixed although predominantly arable. Cropping includes wheat, barley, oil seed rape, maze, potatoes, asparagus, carrots and parsnips.
Wheat and barley is grown for animal feed, oil seed rape for vegetable oil and maze for anaerobic digestion to generate electricity. We grow main crop potatoes for pre pack in supermarkets and chipping for Mc Donald's. Albert Bartlett also grows carrots and parsnips here for supermarkets.
The farm is classic Breckland vegetation and habitation including lapwing, stone curlew, hare and a multitude of song birds.
All crops are produced to the highest standards to conform with the Red Tractor label. Potatoes and Asparagus are grown under the Assured Produce Certification Scheme and all combinable crops under the Assured Produce Combinable Crops Scheme.
The farm relies on extensive irrigation to produce high quality root vegetables and has its own reservoir.
There is also a farm shop on site open during the Asparagus season (April – mid June) selling freshly cut asparagus and other locally sourced produce and our own home grown lamb.
We are open for business 7 days a week during the asparagus season ( Early April - mid June).
We grow over 120 acres of asparagus on the farm. Asparagus thrives on the poor sandy soils of the Brecklands. Crowns are planted as 2 years olds and then grown on for another 2 years before being cut commercially. Every spear is hand cut and then graded and packed within a few hours before being refrigerated and delivered throughout the country.
We sell from our shop at the farm gate and also direct to local shops, pubs, restaurants, wholesalers and retailers and also daily to the London Markets of New Covent Garden, Western International and New Spittlefield Market. We also supply some supermarkets.
Although traditionally the season starts on St George's Day here we start cutting under polythene in early April and cut every day until the longest day on June 21st.
We source the crowns from Holland and the varieties are Gijnlim and Guelph Millennium.
Asparagus enjoys dry warm nights and hates the cold and wet. As one of the drier parts of the country this is a perfect home for this amazing veg.
During the Asparagus season our shop is open to sell lamb as well as lots of other local delicious goodies.
The lamb is home grown here on the farm and is sold as hoggett which is lamb one year old. This means you have a bigger joint and more flavour. The lambs are weaned slowly and spend a whole year at grass without being fattened quickly with concentrated foods. This results in a tender meat with lovely flavour.
Our ewes are mules ( a cross between an upland ram such a Bluefaced Leicester and a pure bred hill ewe) and we cross them with either a Suffolk or Texel ram to produce good meaty lambs.
Tupping takes place in the autumn and we lamb the following April. With the asparagus appearing too April and May is a busy month here on the farm!
Lamb is sold by the joint or as a whole or half. The lamb comes jointed in legs, shoulders, mince and chops and it is all butchered a few miles away at Howards of Gayton.