Ashley Wheeler and Kate Norman have been running Trill Farm Garden since 2010.
After being brought up on an organic council smallholding, Ashley studied horticulture at Reading University and pursued his interest in restoration of historical gardens for a couple of years, before finding Trill and returning to vegetable growing. They have always mainly sold to restaurants and cafes, but in 2020 their vegetable box delivery scheme started, delivering to Axminster, Lyme Regis, Seaton and surrounding areas in Devon and Dorset.
Ashley and Kate won the Young Organic Grower’s of the Year Award in its first year (2021) for their commitment to organic principles and how their attention to good soil management and biodiversity has helped them deliver quality vegetable production despite a farm with a high water table and poor drainage. They were also commended for their commitment to ongoing training, including their support for the Landworkers’ Alliance.
The garden is about 5 acres (we took on another 2.5 acre field in 2022 on top of our original 2.5 acre market garden) and includes several large poly-tunnels which house tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, peppers and the like in the summer, and is used for salad growing through the winter. We harvest around three tonnes of salad a year, growing around 100 different varieties of leaf and flowers for the mix. We use traditional organic principles, and are proud to be certified with the Soil Association. We are always developing techniques of improving soil health and increasing the biodiversity within the garden.
Along with producing vegetables, salad and herbs, a big part of what we do in the market garden is seed saving. We now save seed from over 20 different varieties and grow commercially for the Real Seed Catalogue and Vital Seeds.
We have always had an amazing garden team including trainees helping us with all the work in the market garden. There are around 10 of us working in the garden, with Hester having been with us since 2020, Emma also since 2019 and Zoe since 2020 sorting out the packing and deliveries with Kate.
We are founding members of The Landworkers’ Alliance and helped to setup the UK Seed Sovereignty Programme.