Rob Stacey supplies 100% of the outdoor daffodils on sale in M&S stores. The farm’s innovative integration of complementary enterprises (daffodils and new potatoes) means that Rob and his fellow producers Mark and Edward Rowe are able to share labour requirements and equipment effectively over the 3500 acre operation.
Judges highlighted Rob’s dedication to staff development and welfare; Rowe Farming Ltd is the only daffodil grower of this scale to employ all 800 pickers directly, providing staff with a fairer deal and more job stability.
Entries were so strong in this region that the judges named two winners, one from produce and one from livestock.
Steven grows regional new potatoes and speciality carrots for M&S along 200 hectares of the Moray Firth coast. As both a grower and a packer, he has full control over the quality and freshness of his produce from seed to store.
Innovation is at the heart of Steven’s business and his new variety trials with M&S have helped to create a niche in the vegetables market.
Judges were particularly impressed with Steven's strong focus on new varieties and supplier engagement.
Angus Jeffrey and son, Niall are dedicated to running a sustainable business both financially and environmentally. Continued investment means their breeding herd of Aberdeen Angus now stands at 330 head, with new ideas always tried and tested before investment decisions are made.
Judges were impressed by Angus and Niall’s commitment to countryside stewardship as well as their excellent welfare standards. A reed bed now purifies dirty water and run off from the farm whilst grass margins and managed hedgerows have improved wildlife habitat and bee activity.
Justin is the fifth generation of the Scale family to be involved in poultry production and now supplies 65,000 Christmas turkeys into M&S through the family-run company.
The 400-acre farm’s location in the temperate climate of the Gulf Stream provides an ideal environment for free range poultry and judges were impressed by Justin’s high welfare standards.
Capestone also place great emphasis on community engagement and education, hosting visits for local primary school to educate pupils on the important link between food and farming.
Graham has the first carbon neutral poultry farm in Northern Ireland and has invested in a range of sustainable projects and renewable energy sources to reduce his carbon footprint.
Graham and his father Ronnie’s high attention to detail in hygiene and animal welfare was evident throughout the farm, which houses 54,000 chickens, 350 Suffolk x Cheviot ewes and 100 suckler beef cows.
Judges applauded his business decisions, based not only on economics but also on what is ‘the right thing to do’.
La Calera is a family owned enterprise growing high quality avocados for M&S. The company also produces eggs, citrus and grapes, accounting for 40% of the total fruit exported from Peru.
The entry demonstrated how the farm goes the extra mile for its staff and the environment using efficient irrigation methods and renewable energy sources to reduce their environmental impact.
All 1500 staff are provided with meals, training and health insurance and a charity set up by the family has built and funded schools, nurseries, community centres and more. La Calera has also shied away from machinery, which reduces the need for labour, as they feel that they want to provide employment to as many as possible.