Founded more than 40 years ago, Ian & Carol Critchley established the fruit growing enterprise at Lower Reule Farm in 1976 .
By 1982 they were growing over 200 acres of strawberries, all in open fields and harvested over the four weeks on June. If it rained the whole crop could be lost – for this reason strawberries were historically considered very much a luxury food.
In the late 1990’s the farm trialled the use of polytunnels. Growing fruit under tunnels not only protected the crop from the rain, combined with the use of new everbearer strawberry varieties the season was extended. It was now possible to harvest crops in Staffordshire from mid-May to October.
In 2009 faced with a shortage of harvest workers, we decided to grow all of our strawberries on table tops. This meant that strawberries would be grown out of the soil without the need to bend down to the ground to pick them. After 8 years converting all of our production areas, we picked our last soil grown strawberries in 2016.
2016 also saw the opening of our new 20,000 square foot cooling and packing facility. We now have the very best rapid chilling and cooling systems available, two bespoke packing lines all housed in a super compliant food safe environment.
Today owned by Charles Kidson and his family, we continue to produce strawberries to the very highest standards both in terms of quality and food safety. Through the use of tunnels and table tops, our strawberries can be sold at a price that makes what was once a luxury food an affordable every day healthy treat.