High Laver Hall Farm is the original farm and was bought in 1958. The farm is 400 acres and is where the current generation of Collins family were born. The farm is now where Ashlyns operates all of its projects. The old Essex Barns and buildings have been converted into beautiful residential properties and the big barns now host our butchery and packhouse as well as the Training Kitchen and our offices.
Newhouse Farm is located in Moreton and borders our main farm. We purchased the farm in 2002 although we had been farming the land for our neighbour many years before that. It is here that the next generation of the Collins family were born and is 750 acres. It is now the main base for our grain storage and machinery sheds.
Mitchells Farm is 234 acres and was purchased in 2016 and is located near Stanford Rivers in Essex
We also have contract farming agreements with three other neighbouring farms which keeps everyone on the farm very busy.
One of them is Ashlyns Farm and was the test bed for converting to Organic Farming methods and assisted by a 5 year Countryside Stewardship Scheme we carried out many environmental improvements: arable field margins, recreating water meadows, composting, beetle banks, maintaining ancient hedgerows and woodlands and new plantings.
We needed as many hedges and beetle banks as possible to harbour the predatory insects we relied on to control aphids. Birds, butterflies and bumblebees thrive on the clover leys we grew to maintain soil fertility. Instead of the monoculture of winter wheat and oil seed rape that has led to such a decline in bird populations we grew a multitude of different crops providing diverse habitats where wild flowers and insects could co-exist.
We are passionate about the environment and since this scheme Ashlyns has become more vibrant and diverse. Wildlife has increased, hedges and beetle banks have been established. Wild flower grasslands line the Cripsey Brook and the lake has an island and pools for wildfowl. Unspoilt, Old Essex Countryside…
In 2011 we had to make some big decisions about how we farmed the land in the future. Due to the nature of the land, which has a high weed seed burden, we decided to revert to conventional farming but in a more sympathetic manner.
Everything we have learnt from farming organically has been incorporated into a more modern style of farming that will allow us to produce maximum yields to help meet the ever increasing demands of food supply within the country. An increasing population is putting huge strains on food security and we are based in the “Bread Basket of England” and we need to produce as much wheat as possible but not to the detriment of our environment.
The Collins family are dedicated to maintaining the link between food and farming through our catering partnerships. We believe that everyone should know where their food comes from.