Meet the Growers
BART & ILSE DEKERVEL
Poperinge, Belgium. Varieties: Target, Goldings, Challenger, Cascade
My parents married in 1961 and started growing hops on the farm. They were both the Son and Daughter of Hop growers.
My parents started out with 2 hectares of hops. These varieties were Northern Brewer and Brewers Gold. Every year they planted a little more and in 1970, they had 9 hectares of hops on the farm.
My parents had 3 children, 2 daughters and I am the youngest. As I was the only boy, I stayed on the farm.
I married my Wife, Ilse in 1993. She loves the hops very much and our Son, Aaron would like to stay on the farm.
We currently have 12 Hectares of hops.
CHRISTOPHER, GILLIAN & ANDREW DAWS KITCHENHAM FARM
Bodiam, East Sussex. Varieties grown: Admiral, Challenger, Fuggles, Goldings, Experimental
The growing of hops was established in the 18th century in the Ewhurst and Bodiam parishes of East Sussex. The Daws family farmed in Ewhurst while the Levett family farmed in Bodiam. The Daws family were the first family to establish growing hops on a wire trellis, rather than the traditional pole and string system used by others. We now run the family farm in Bodiam growing Admiral, Challenger, Fuggles, Goldings and an experimental variety.
We are members of English Hops Limited (EHL) a Growers co-operative where I am Sales Director and proud to sell direct to Brewers and customer either as raw hops or T90 pellet a full range of varieties that our growers produce.
CARLO & RITA BOERAEVE
Poperinge, Belgium. Varieties Grown: Challenger, Magnum, Phoenix, Pilgrim, Target
My Father, Adrien Boeraeve, started up the farm in 1950 with my Mother, Marie-Cecile Derycke. They grew hops and reared pigs and cattle.
I married Rita Leys in 1985 and we started looking after the farm in 1986. Rita had a fulltime job as a nurse until our first Son Stijn was born. Rita stayed at home and we worked on the farm together and a few years later, our second Son Tomas was born.
We grow 13 hectares of hops, which is the main crop, along with hop shoots, a few hectares of cereals and vegetables – 25 hectares altogether.
My Son Tomas, now works on the farm with me.
CLIVE & RICHARD EDMED HAYLE FARM
Horsmonden, Kent. Varieties Grown: First Gold, Goldings, Progress, Target, Sovereign, Pilgrim, Endeavour
Hayle Farm is situated in a tranquil valley in the Weald of Kent between the small village of Horsmonden and the Sussex border. The area is known as “The Garden of England” and is designated an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”
Hops have been grown here since the 1590’s when the Flemish Wool Weavers settled around Goudhurst and brought their hop varieties with them. In 1861, the variety ‘Fuggles’ was discovered in Horsmonden and first propagated in Brenchley, the next village to Horsmonden.
Our situation here is perfect for growing hops, as it is well sheltered by the surrounding hills and a fresh water trout stream that meanders through the various hop gardens.
Clive Edmed has farmed here for over 39 years and in the last 25 years has been joined by his son, Richard, making at least 5 generations of hop growers.
A mix of tall and dwarf varieties are grown here, producing five different varieties of hops having excellent English aromas and colour due to the Wadhurst heavy soils and typical English climate.
Growing hops is not only a business to us, it’s a way of life.
DAN & STEVE SEWELL, LITTLE PELL FARM
Wadhurst, East Sussex. Varieties Grown: Bramling Cross, Pilgrim, Progress, Target, WGV
Little Pell Farm, circa 1400, is situated in a beautiful rural location in East Sussex, close to the Kent border. The farmstead lies nestled below the pretty village of Wadhurst with the land amounting to some 270 acres. Hop growing at the farm has long been a significant interest. Although the farm is only around 20 acres, the labour intensity and vital attention to detail to reliably produce a crop with the finest quality is at the forefront of the family’s focus.
We take great care and pride in our work and have been delighted to have won numerous regional and national awards for our hops.
We have for many decades, enjoyed a long standing agreement to supply some of our Progress and Bramling Cross hops to the well-respected local brewery, Harvey’s of Lewes, who are keen to promote the Sussex ale to all those who are lucky enough to enjoy it. Their Best Bitter is a firm favourite for my weekly tipple.
On the rest of the farm, you will find many friendly woolly sheep and their lambs gambolling in the spring sunshine along with the mowing and tedding of sweet smelling hay in the summer months. Autumn brings out the combine to harvest wheat and barley.
In the winter, the sound of chainsaws coppicing the native species managed woodland with on looking wild deer roaming freely and truck loads of logs keeping the local villagers cosy.
FRANK & IAN TIPPLES, HARTS HEATH FARM
Staplehurst, Kent. Varieties Grown: Admiral, Bramling Cross, Goldings, Progress, Target, WGV
am a 3rd generation hop farmer and have been growing hops myself for over 40 years. Our farm is 110 hectares, of which 20 hectares is dedicated to hops.
Other activities on the farm are growing of cereals, apples and pears and the tending of sheep.
I grow a variety of hop varieties with Admiral being my favourite as it is easy to grow and relatively disease free.
I am quite fond of Shepherd Neame Master Brew or any good UK ale.
I have retired from the post of Chairman of Marden Cricket and Hockey clubs, which I held for 10 years. We are a successful club achieving the quarter finals of a National knockout competition.
HOWARD & MARK BATT, BUCKMAN GREEN FARM
Smarden, Kent. Varieties Grown: Admiral, Boadicea, First Gold, Goldings, Pioneer, Progress, Sovereign, Sussex, WGV
A 4th generation family farm, situated in the Weald of Kent near Smarden village, an area of outstanding natural beauty. The farm comprises of 100 acres split between hops and rotation crops grown predominantly on clay soil in the Beult basin.
The farm, originally part of the Cornwallis estate was farmed by Mark Batt on a tenancy basis from 1917 which comprised of only 3 acres of hops. The tenancy was passed to Mark’s son; Arnold who continued to expand the hop business and purchased the farm outright circa 1960 for the princely sum on £10,000. Stewardship was passed to Arnold’s son Howard in 1990 who continued to expand the hop business from 20 to 50 acres, investing in dwarf/hedgerow grown hops. In 2016, Howard’s son Mark started the Batt’s 4th generation on Buckman Green joining Howard and hopes to continue and modernise the hop enterprise.
Of the farm’s 50 acres of hops, approximately 50% are conventional and the remainder hedgerow and comprise of 11 different varieties of grade one hops to supply an international market. Howard and Mark have won numerous local and national awards for their hop harvest over the years and continue to focus on a quality driven market.
JAMES RICKARDS, LOWER ENSDEN FARM
Old Wives Lees, Canterbury. Varieties Grown: East Kent Goldings, Challenger, Fuggles
I am proudly the third generation of my family to grow Hops. My Grandfather bought Lower Ensden Farm, Old Wives Lees in 1952. We are located in the North Downs, 5 miles west of Canterbury in East Kent. We grow Fuggles, Goldings and Challenger and strive to grow the finest quality Hops using the traditional methods of the area.
JOHN & ANNA CLINCH, SYNDALE FARM
Ospringe, Faversham, East Kent. Varieties Grown: East Kent Goldings, Challenger
The Clinch family have farmed in East Kent for over three hundred years, and have been growing hops for well over a century. Hops have always been the mainstay of our business and at Syndale Farm, we are coming up to our centenary in 2019.
The Farm is in a sheltered valley that overlooks the Swale Estuary and the North Sea, a perfect place to grow East Kent Goldings.
I would like take this opportunity to welcome Anna Clinch who has just joined us this year, after finishing her degree at Cirencester RAU.
JONATHAN ADAMS, LOWER HOUSE FARM
Tenbury Wells, Worcester. Varieties Grown: Progress, Goldings
The Adams' family farm has been growing hops since 1922. Originally, Thomas Adams (my Grandad) was the first in the family to begin producing hops; he did so at the Church House Farm in Rochford. In 1926, he moved to Lower House Farm Rochford, where the growth of hops had already begun. My Dad then continued the farming that my Grandad had created and expanded the farm so that growth had tripled. After Dad, my Brother Phillip continued farming at just 20 years old. Sadly, he passed away and so I took over in 2001. Presently, we are growing Progress and Golding hops.
JOSH BERRY, GUSHMERE COURT FARM
Selling, Faversham, East Kent. Varieties Grown: East Kent Goldings, Challenger, Fuggles
I farm some 200 hectares of land in the parishes of both Boughton and Selling located between Faversham and Canterbury in Kent. Our soils vary from Chalky loam with flints through to Sandy loam, with some Thanet Beds and a little Brick earth. Cropping includes hops, blackcurrants, pears, cherries, wheat, oats, oil seed rape and beans.
The farm has been in the family for many generations. I am just about to start my tenth year managing the farm. Growing hops is a key enterprise within the business. Traditionally, growing East Kent Goldings and more recently, we have replanted varieties we used to grow. Fuggles were planted in 2002 and Challenger were added in 2009. This has helped extend our harvest window and has ensured all of our hop growing systems are running at full capacity.
I employ three very knowledgeable full time staff who have all worked for this family run business for over 30 years. Our valuable staff members assist with the day to day operations and a casual workforce of between 10 and 20 people are employed for hop training and harvest.
Our business moves forward concentrating on the importance of the environment, our people and our quality products.
KEITH MILLEN, WAGSTAFF FARM
Biddenden, Ashford. Varieties Grown: Admiral, Goldings, Target, UK Chinook
My grandfather bought this farm in 1918, and for a while grew a small acreage of hops.
In the depression years of the 1930’s, he did not have any and during the second world war, a large section of the farm was requisitioned by the government to build an air field which was occupied by the American air force.
There was a considerable amount of damage done to the land and property. By the end of the war the land was given back and by this time my father started to take over and wanted to grow hops again in the very late 1940’s early 1950’s. The main variety he grew was Fuggles, growing them successfully for a number of years, until the late 1970’s when they were struck down with verticillium wilt.
For the next 10 years or so, different varieties were grown with varying degrees of success, until the late 1980’s when everything was grubbed. At this time, I started to take an interest and planted the existing acreage with Target, which I still have today. Since then I have doubled the acreage which includes Admiral, Goldings and UK Chinnock and built a new drying system and with the vibrant interest in UK varieties, I intend to increase plantings further.
I am the seventh generation in my family to have grown hops, although not continuously or on the same farm. It may appear to some people that I grow hops for historical family connections but this is not the case. My grandfather said to my father when he started growing hops, “you are in for a lot of work and aggravation” and he certainly was not wrong. I have a young and enthusiastic team working with me, including the next generation and they are showing interest in what I do.
MARC & MARLEEN BEDDELEEM
Poperinge, Belgium. Varieties Grown: Challenger, Magnum, Target
The farm of Marc Beddeleem is situated less than a kilometer away from the Belgium/French border.
At least five generations of the Beddeleem family earned their living on this location. Marc took over the farm when he married Marleen Cambie in 1982, who is also a hop growers Daughter. They have three children and four Grandchildren. Joost, the youngest Son is willing to eventually take over the farm.
In the last thirty years the farm has extended to over 50 acres. The family grow the hop varieties, Target, Magnum, Challenger and Goldings.
Other crops include, cereals, vegetables (peas and beans), potatoes, maize and beets. Marc and Marleen also breed dairy cattle and pigs.
MARTIN POWELL-TUCK, PRIDEWOOD FARM
Ledbury, Herefordshire. Varieties Grown: WGV, Bramling Cross, Fuggles, Target, Progress, UK Chinook, Ernest
We are Pridewood Hops, run by the Powell-Tuck family. Martin is the main man, helped by Julia, Robert and Carole.
Martin’s Father Geoffrey, farmed the hops at The Nupend, Munsley before they were eventually grubbed out.
They then purchased the Whitehouse and we still have the hop yard there today. Julie, Martin’s Wife, was brought up at Lower House, Canon Frome, where her Father, John Morris farmed the hops and we still rent one of those yards today.
We are hoping that one of our Daughters may carry on. One of our Daughters Emily, is currently learning the other side of selling hops at Charles Faram & Co Ltd.
RAY & TOM MORRIS, BURFORD MILL FARM
Tenbury Wells, Worcester. Fuggles
Hops have been grown at Burford Mill Farm for over 250 years.
Burford Mill was on the Burford Estate until my Father, Tom Morris, who had farmed it since 1935, bought the farm in 1952 when the estate was broken up.
As the name infers, there was a large mill with two water wheels. The mill last worked in 1930.
The Morris family have farmed hops for over 200 years and my son Tom will eventually take over the farm from me.
THE WHEELER FAMILY
East Peckham, Kent &Udimore, East Sussex. Varieties Grown: Fuggles, Target, Admiral, Goldings
In 1690 the Wheeler Family grew hops in West Sussex. John and Jasper Wheeler moved to Kent in the early 19th century and Ken Wheeler on to East Sussex in the 20th century.
This continuity of 10 generations has seen years of changing fortunes in this volatile industry.
Simon and Phillip Wheeler now join their father Robert and uncle Christopher, confident that English Hops are a special high quality product with a future.
They grow over 32 hectares of Fuggles, Target, Admiral and Kent Cobb and Early Choice Goldings at Udimore, Britains’ most southern hop farm and East Peckham, the traditional heartland of hop growing in the Weald of Kent.
With a Continuous Binder dryer on one farm and investment in a new oast and two new balers, the family believe in their business and that English hops have a positive market both at home and abroard.
THOMAS JOHNSON ELVERTON FARMS LTD AND THE REDSELL TEYNHAM PARTNERSHIP
East Kent. Varieties Grown: Bramling Cross, Bullion, Cascade, Challenger, East Kent Golding, Fuggle, Northdown
We farm around 220ha of land across three farms around Faversham in Kent. The business is family run, I am in my third year managing the farm in partnership with my Mum and Sister. Our cropping includes hops, apples, pears, cherries, wheat, barley and oilseed rape.
Hops account for 20% of our cropping area, so is a key part of our business. We have only tall varieties, growing predominantly East Kent Goldings, but also other traditional varieties to broaden our picking window at harvest. Recently we have planted some Bullion, an old variety which used to be used as a bittering hop and has gained some popularity in recent years thanks to its vibrant aroma.
We employ eight full time staff most of whom have many years of experience on our farms. During the spring and summer months we employ up to 60 casual workers to help with harvest of our hops and fruit.
Our farm is committed to producing high quality crops using sustainable farming practices.
TOM & NIGEL BERRY, BRENLEY FARM
Boughton, Faversham, East Kent. Varieties Grown: East Kent Goldings
The Berrys have been farming hops at Brenley for over 150 years and with six generations of knowledge, we are proud to still be growing the finest local varieties.
Nigel and his son Tom, grow circa 10 Hectares of East Kent Goldings, regularly updating growing methods and searching for the best ways to improve quality.
TOM & PHILIP SPILSBURY, ORLETON COURT FARM
Stanford Bridge, Worcester. Varieties Grown: Fuggles, Goldings, Challenger, Progress
JW Spilsbury & Co have been growing hops at Oreton Court Farm in the heart of the Teme Valley for 50 years. Between Tom and his Father Philip, they grow around 50 acres of hops including the varieties; Fuggles, Goldings, Challenger and Progress.
TONY REDSELL OBE & ANTONY RUDGARD REDSELL
Boughton, Faversham, East Kent. Varieties Grown: East Kent Goldings, Fuggles, Challenger, Northdown, Bramling Cross, Cascade
The Redsell family have been farming in Kent since the mid 19th Century and since 1938 at Parsonage Farm, Boughton under Blean. We now farm 2,500 acres of which 125 are under hops including East Kent Goldings, Fuggles, Challenger, Northdown, Bramling Cross and we have grown the American variety Cascade since 2002.
The world renowned East Kent Golding now has “Protected Designation of Origin” status. First selected from the Canterbury Whitebine by a Mr Golding in 1790, it has several clones named after the village in which it was first grown e.g. Bramling or Eastwell or the grower who selected it such as Cobb.
The farms include land at Reculver and Thanet, crops grown include wheat, barley, oats, oil seeds, peas and onions.
The soils range from brick earth at Boughton to sandy loam and clay at Reculver and Thanet Beds over chalk in Thanet.
There is a regular staff of eight, including several who represent the third generation of their family working on the farm.
Tony Redsell’s first hop harvest was in 1948 and he took over the management of the farm in 1960 following the death of the late Mr Tom Redsell.
Antony Rudgard-Redsell, grandson of Tony, joined the business in 2015 becoming the 6th generation of hop growers in the family.