Cornwall Living 2017

Fentongollan Farm

**Order your Cornish, homegrown daffodil, narcissi and other spring bulbs, from Fentongollan Farm and receive a 10% discount.* The perfect spring display, straight from the farm (*applies to online orders only).**

You can trace Hoskings farming in Cornwall back to the seventeenth century, but they’ve been where they are now at Fentongollan, on the Fal estuary, since 1889. The farm is currently run by two brothers, James and Jeremy Hosking, the fourth generation at Fentongollan Farm. The fifth generation of their family to work on the farm helped them for part of their summer holidays in 2014.

A life before tractors, transport and all of today’s technology wasn’t easy  but some things in farming are constants which have nothing to do with progress. For all this time, whatever they have been doing has been done with care and love for everything that is grown, reared and cultivated, always making sure that nothing is done  in their farming present to harm their farming future.

With more than 50 years’ experience our expertise in Cornish cut flowers and bulbs  means Fentongollan also export worldwide and sell direct to gardeners, wholesalers, councils and gardening clubs as well as by mail order direct to you. Currently over 400 varieties of daffodils, including many that are new, unique and rare are grown. This is one of the world’s best places (probably the best!) to grow daffodils and narcissi. Alongside flowers and bulbs around 1,600 acres of cereals are grown, lambs from 1,000 breeding ewes are reared and 100 million vegetable seedlings are supplied to Cornish farmers and growers.

The Fentongollan farming operation run by James and Jeremy Hosking covers 2400 acres on and around the beautiful Roseland Peninsula. The original farmed area has been augmented with various ‘farm Business tenancies’ and ‘Contract farming’ agreements farming the land for other landowners.

From the roots of mixed farming, the partnership now specialises in four main areas of production:

  • Daffodil flowers and bulbs
  • Vegetable seedling plants
  • Combinable crops
  • Sheep.

Spring bulb collection

Our spring bulb season will start late summer 2015, with delivery from mid September onwards (depending on availability). Our daffodils, miniature daffodils, tulips and our collections of other spring bulbs are ready to order now.

We are currently offering a 10% discount off spring bulb orders placed online – the discount will appear automatically in your shopping basket when you place your order.

Daffodils

The daffodil flowering season in Cornwall can last for seven months from November to May, with the main flower picking time from January to April. Fentongollan grow 170 acres of daffodils and narcissi, over 400 different varieties, and  pick around 15 million flowers to send out as ‘flowers by post’, or to florists nationwide and export to Europe.

500 tonnes of bulbs are marketed every year:  selling through a mail-order catalogue and website, to garden centres and to other packers in this country and Holland.

Visit website

Vegetable Seedlings

If you buy an English-grown cauliflower from a supermarket in the winter months, there’s a good chance it started life as a Fentongollan seedling. During a year they raise over 90 million plants in greenhouses and tunnels in winter and spring and in summer also in an outside nursery.

They grow huge amounts of summer cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, leeks and courgettes. Being at the centre of the green vegetable industry in Cornwall; they supply around 70% of the seedlings – almost 100 million plants – required by Cornish growers, who in turn supply all of the major supermarkets with fresh vegetables.

What’s good for supermarkets is good for gardeners too, which is why they also send out vegetable plants by post to private allotment- and garden-growers all over the country. As well as growing conventional seedlings, around two million plants are raised for organic producers, and a large number of seedlings for small growers and gardeners, for whom they package plants in multiples of ten or 20 rather than tens of thousands.

Combinable crops

Currently 1600 acres of cereals are grown.  Cropping is made up of Winter Wheat for livestock feed;  Winter and spring Barley for feed, and the traditional specialist malting barley variety ‘Maris Otter’ grown for St Austell Brewery; Winter and Spring Oats for milling; Oilseed rape and spring Beans. The straw is all sold to local livestock farmers. In 2014, 4600 tonnes of grain were harvested.

There is a strong focus on using best management practices and precision farming techniques throughout our farming. The farm uses  RTK’ satellite guidance including yield mapping, automatic steering and variable rate application of fertilizers to increase the efficiency of farming operations whilst minimising the environmental impact.

Sheep

Fentongollan has 1,000 pure-bred Dorset and Aberdale ewes and have recently moved lambing to spring from the autumn because, although autumn’s the traditional West country time to lamb the Dorset ewe, the extra that they were able to charge for them didn’t cover the higher cost and lower lamb numbers involved.

So, as the rams joined the ewes on the 1st October, we can know that 2015’s first day of lambing will be the 20th February; they will be scanning ewes in December so they know how many lambs they’ll produce and, accordingly, how each should be fed.

Waitrose take the majority of the meat lambs for their ‘Farmhouse Dorset Lamb’; other ewe lambs are supplied to other farms for breeding. Now that the lambing season has been changed, they are starting, slowly, to change the breeding policy too. New Zealand Romney rams will be introduced next year: they make better mothers, are more self-sufficient during lambing and happier than Dorsets on some of the poorer, steeper ground they have to graze. Changing breeds isn’t quick work, but the guys at Fentongollan think it will be worth it.