James Bramley, Root Vegetable Manager at Poskitt Ltd
James Bramley is Root Vegetable Manager at M.H. Poskitt Ltd. James’ wife, Helen (who is Edward’s middle sister) runs the Greengrocery department in The Farm Shop, so there are high expectations for product quality. The Poskitt family have been growing carrots for over 40 years. James has worked for them for 9 years, managing the farming of the root vegetable crops of carrots, potatoes, parsnips, swede and pumpkins.
“Freshness is guaranteed as we are in control of the whole process, from planting to delivery to our customers. As we are local to Blacker Hall it makes it even easier for us to guarantee freshness”.
What challenges are associated with growing root vegetables?
The main challenges are caused by the weather. In hot, dry periods, the crops suffer very quickly so they require intense irrigation. In contrast, very wet weather makes harvesting difficult, as the ground conditions are difficult for us to travel over with large machinery. We often have to use several tractors towing each other round the fields in order to get the crop out of the ground.
Light sandy land is important for growing carrots and parsnips. We farm land from south of Doncaster to Filey, and as far north as Thirsk.
Are there any specific challenges at Christmas?
Simply the sheer volume of vegetables we have to harvest and pack. I’m spending a lot of my time at the moment checking the quality of carrots and parsnips we’ve got in the fields so when the Christmas rush starts, we can be sure to get the very best quality lifted and out to our customers. We sell over 25% of our parsnip crop over the Christmas period.
What is the growing process?
We start to drill carrots and parsnips in January. They are covered with fleece to warm up the soil and promote germination of the crops. We finish drilling the main crop in late May. Harvesting of the early carrots starts in mid-July and we usually finish lifting the last of the season’s crop in May the following year.
During the winter months we cover some fields with straw to protect the root crops from harsh, cold weather. We only ever cover parsnips after they’ve had a frost on them though as frost improves flavour. We cover them in straw to make sure we can harvest them as it’s very difficult to lift the roots out of frozen ground.
What makes your vegetables so special?
Freshness is guaranteed as we are in control of the whole process, from planting to delivery to our customers. As we are local to Blacker Hall it makes it even easier for us to guarantee freshness.