Heritage of Southalls of Norchard.
Southalls of Norchard.
The Southall family have been farming at Norchard since 1907 when Matthew Southall purchased the farm to grow fruit and vegetables. The then recently opened Hartlebury Station was key to the purchase because produce grown on the farm could be transported quickly and efficiently to his greengrocery shops in the heart of the industrial Black Country. Matthew's vision of delivering fresh produce with the minimum of food miles lives on in our policy today.
Matthew's son, Arthur, farmed through the hard Depression years of the '30s and passed on a traditional mixed farm to his son Donald in 1947. Don was a mere 21 years old and full of ideas and energy to develop the business. Broiler chickens and a very successful Pick-Your-Own fruit operation developed into the growing and packing operation we have today through the partnership Don forged with his sons Paul and Michael.
Southalls of Norchard Timeline
Matthew Southall bought Norchard Farm
Matthew Southall bought Norchard Farm to supply his greengrocery shops and stalls in the Black Country with fresh vegetables transported via the newly opened Hartlebury railway station. Son Arthur farmed the 80 acres or so of land.
Arthur Southall farmed through the hard years of the Depression.
1939 to 1945
Arthur, Ken and Marion Southall
Arthur Southall (Junior) was a decorated RAF pilot throughout the Second World War, serving with Coastal Command. Ken Southall also joined the RAF and post-war became a high ranking Civil Servant. He always found time to put together the farm accounts and to advise his younger brother on the farm. Sister Marion married local farmer Joe Moule, who became another source of advice for young Don.
Donald Southall took over the farm from his ailing father. At the tender age of 21 he had his hands full but still managed to play plenty of hockey.
Traditional Worcestershire Mixed Farm
A range of crops were grown, including sugar beet, potatoes, barley and a variety of fruit and vegetables.
To add to the mix beef cattle, pigs and chickens were raised.
Pick Your Own
Norchard Farm became well known locally for its Pick Your Own fruit and vegetables, the marketing managed by Don's wife Elizabeth.
A Jersey cow called Daisy was hand-milked daily and provided golden milk, butter and cream for Don, Elizabeth and their four children
Farm size around 100 acres
Paul and Michael Southall
Twin brothers Paul and Michael Southall joined the business after studying Agricultural and Food Marketing at respectively Newcastle University and Harper Adams, becoming partners with father Don in 1987.
The previously mixed farm started to specialise in growing and packing vegetables. Extra land was rented in from neighbouring farms and marketing was done in collaboration with other growers.
Our first seasonal agricultural student workers arrived from countries such as Poland and Slovakia, impressing with their work ethic and motivation.
Celebrate Farm Centenary
We celebrated the centenary of the farm purchase with a big party in June, along with our workforce, neighbours, family and business associates.
Pack House Expansion
Pack house extended and new equipment bought with funding help from the RPA. Now able to label product and deliver direct to supermarket depots.
'D.Southall and Sons' changes name to 'Southalls of Norchard'. Now farming on over 1100 acres.
When you are the fourth generation of a family business that has been operating for over 100 years you do feel a responsibility to keep it in good shape and if possible to improve it. It's a great help that the farming knowledge of those previous generations has been handed down for us to use, and that we get to plough the same fertile Norchard soil that they turned.