Pick's Organic Farm was setup in 1999 by Nicky Chambers and Tim Pick. Tim and Nicky are cousins and have known each other all their lives.
The Pick family have been farming the land around Barkby Thorpe, Leicestershire for hundreds of years – at least back to the early 1600s. In the late 19th century the family became involved in the market garden movement and began selling their produce direct to the public at local markets. Tim grew up with his mother and father in the farmhouse that the farm is still based in. His cousin Nicky lived nearby and the two grew up together around the farm.
Adversity and Passion
Tragically, Tim lost his father when he was only 15 years old. Tim grew up in the days before health and safety and he well remembers the times his father came home covered in mercury powder that had been used as a seed conditioner. It is Tim’s belief that this and other now banned farming techniques contributed or directly caused the untimely death of his father aged only 48 years old. Tim consequently has become a proud and enthusiastic advocate of the organic way and doing things naturally.
Pick’s Organic Farm is Formed
By 1999, Nicky had a young daughter (Sophie) and was keen to ensure that she did the very best by her, this included making sure she fed her only natural foods. Through these passions and experiences Tim and Nicky formed Pick’s Organic Farm in 1999 to further the cause of the organic movement and to give the local folks an ability to buy naturally produced organic food.
They wanted to get back to the traditional market garden style of farming and Tim had many years’ experience of pig husbandry and so the starting point was rearing some organic pork. They accompanied this with some organic vegetables. Quite quickly they realised the perils of organic farming and lost nearly the entire crop in year one due to pigeons eating it. With help from other organic farmers (they’re a friendly bunch who are passionate about forwarding the cause) they grew and developed and were able to develop their techniques.
They were able to sustain the farm and most of the sales were done from the farm gate, with some pork and other products.
A new Farmshop, Butcher’s Shop and the move to Farmers’ Markets
The move into farmer’s markets came later when Alex Duthie from Leicestershire Food Links came to visit in 2003. Through Business Link Pick’s applied for a Business Enterprise Scheme grant and were successful. This allowed for the conversion of the farm into the farmshop, the development of the tea rooms and the butcher’s shop. It also enabled them to recruit their first onsite butcher as well as buy one ‘setup’ for market.
Today and the future.
Today Pick’s is still very much a family business Nicky’s son Ryan continues to help out where needed even though he has his own career as an electrician and Nicky’s daughter Sophie stands markets and manages the payroll despite doing a full-time masters degree. The farm now caters for/stands at hundreds of markets and events each year across the country and if there’s a farmer’s market near you then we hope it won’t be long before you too can buy some fabulous natural organic produce that will give you the same bounce-in-your-step that Nicky and Tim have been feeling all these years due to knowledge of the provenance and natural simplicity of the food you have bought.