The or­ganic route to suc­cess

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile - by Mike Ben­nett mben­nett@thek­m­group.co.uk

FOR more than two decades De­nis Cole and his sons at School Farm, St Mary-in-the-Marsh, have con­cen­trated on or­ganic pro­duc­tion with grow­ing suc­cess.

The re­spected 73-year-old farmer was one of the pi­o­neers for what was a niche mar­ket but is now in big de­mand.

Mr Cole is now semi-re­tired and it is the turn of his sons Jamie, 42, and Jonathan, 49, to con­tinue the work.

On 180 acres of Rom­ney marshes they grow or­ganic pota­toes, car­rots, red and white onions and sweet­corn and are now in their sec­ond year of pro­duc­ing or­ganic veg­etable boxes for restau­rants in Kent and Sus­sex.

Strug­gling farm­ers know di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion is the key to suc­cess and the lat­est project by Jamie is to re­store a three-acre, 18th-cen­tury walled gar­den at a prop­erty in Bish­ops­bourne.

The plan is to rein­tro­duce older va­ri­eties of fruit and veg that will mean long-for­got­ten tastes can once again be­come a win­ner.

Farmer Jamie Cole with some of his or­ganic prod­ucts

Pic­ture: Dave Downey pd1497430

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