In 1931 my grandfather took on the tenancy of Manor Farm from the Earl of Leicester, Holkam Estate. It is suggested that, at one time, the Earl could ride from Holkam to Norwich without leaving his own land. During World War II, he was part of the war effort growing food, resulting in more land, including Elmham and Twyford Parks, coming under the plough.
As well as traditional crops such as wheat, barley and sugar beet, my grandfather cultivated blackcurrants, poppies, peas and brassicas. Crops were delivered to London markets five days a week and a dairy herd of shorthorns, pigs and turkeys completed the mix! In 1954, my father Brian took over after grandfather died. Further changes with seed crops grown for Towsers, a Surrey based seed company and sweetcorn, a new crop for Norfolk. These developments resulted in the first road-side sales of fruit and vege from a small stall.
With the onset of supermarkets, vegetable growing and the small stall were soon finished. The dairy herd was disbanded in the early 1970s and the beef herd in the mid 1980s. Both farms were bought from our landlords and we concentrated on the production of arable crops.