Riverdale Farm is a small, family run organic fruit and vegetable farm in the heart of the Norfolk fenland. We believe that farmers should work with nature, not against it, to produce the freshest, most delicious local produce possible. For us this means never using nasty chemicals or artificialities, relying on nature’s own remedies and rhythms to grow healthy, full flavoured fruit and vegetable
The farm’s founders, Karen and Edwin Broad have worked in the organics industry since 1985. With the experience this gave them, they set up an organics business in their living room in 1992. Three years later they were given the opportunity to buy a few acres of Victorian orchard that adjoins the back garden of their house. This first plot of land was to be the very beginnings of Riverdale Farm.
Over the next two years, the small overgrown orchard was tidied and converted to organic land, piece by piece over the last 10 years the farm has expanded into the area we farm today.
The original Victorian apple orchard now borders on rows of greenery; poly-tunnels overshadow the churned soil of the flat fields, keeping their contents sheltered and warm from the harsh fenland winds. Hardier crops grow in the unsheltered breeze, their natural fight for survival aided by our ardent team of helpers who nurture the plants until harvesting. A short, slightly muddy tractor ride skims the edge of the fields, and down to a second orchard, where gnarled trees hunch with the weight of their fruits, which dangle precariously from graceful branches. The seasons create startling effects on this lush landscape, the snows in winter make the tree branches sparkle in the sun, while most of the smaller plants wait in the warm dark soil waiting for the thaw of springtime, which will bring beautiful apple blossom and the emergence of young tender shoots of life. Summer is always green and lush, showing the farm at its most stunning, produce at its fullest, fields teaming with wildlife, no matter how much rain we get! The muddy autumn harvests bring a different kind of beauty to the fields; we see the fruits of our hard years’ labour most prominently at this time, our stores become rich with variety of produce.
As farmers, we work hard to nurture every plant we grow, our daily workload includes tending to every shoot, and every fruit, and all year round. We feel that working this closely with nature pays off; in our farm, we see the environment at its most beautiful.
As you would imagine, this 25 acre farm is a tempting feast for the local wildlife, which both Edwin and Karen have been keen to embrace. Many conventional farmers frown when they know a warren of rabbits have moved into their fields, or see a colony of bats resting in the eaves of their outbuildings. At Riverdale Farm, the local wildlife is free to make its home. Many are encouraged as they help control the populations of those little beasties that are harmful to our plants. The animals and insects create a diverse and balanced eco-system which is not only good news for the environment and countryside, but also helps us grow the food that we produce. Food chains are nature’s pest control; those that damage the crops are tasty foods for other animals and insects which live on and around the farm.
This means that you will never find chemicals on our fruit and veg, they are not genetically enhanced or unnaturally produced. Our food is not only fresh, but because of the natural way it is grown, we are often told that the produce has a fuller, more succulent flavour