Meet our Producer of the Year 2016

In this section

We’ve been working with Fairfields Farm in North Essex since 2009. They stock our stores with potatoes delivered direct from local fields, as well as handmade crisps that showcase the fantastic flavours of East Anglia.

The farm is based in Wormingford, a small village just outside Colchester, and is run by husband and wife team Laura and Robert Strathern. The couple grow around 12 different varieties of potatoes, including those which are best for crisp-making, across 60 acres of fields. 

As the third generation of a local potato farming family, Robert and Laura decided to take the business one step further, and in 2006 they created a purpose built crisp production factory at the farm. 

A local flavour

The couple’s ambition was to bring together the best quality local potatoes and some of the tastiest ingredients to create a range of completely natural home-cooked crisps. 

Today Fairfield Farm Crisps is renowned for being a brand which genuinely keeps its flavours entirely local. The produce used to flavour the farm-grown potatoes is all sourced from neighbouring independent businesses including Essex’s Wicks Manor bacon, Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses and Aspall Cyder from Debenham.   

Fairfields Farm

Potato provenance

Robert and Laura’s venture has been rewarded with numerous Great Taste Awards and accolades for true local provenance.  Absolutely everything takes place on the family farm, from digging up and hand-selecting quality potatoes, to washing, slicing, cooking and bagging at the on-site factory. 

As a result every packet of crisps can be traced back to potatoes from the exact field they were grown in. The traditional crisps have proved so successful that the Strathern’s have also branched out into vegetable crisp production as well, including parsnip crisps flavoured with Essex honey and black pepper. 

As well as being part of our Sourced Locally range, Fairfields Farm Crisps are also stocked at local farm shops, delis, National Trust properties and on Greater Anglia trains. 

We are proud to have been working with this fantastic family business since 2007, having started by stocking their range of crisps, and then a range of their potatoes at our Burnham store in Essex two years later. Today the farm supplies many varieties of potatoes and numerous flavours of crisps to nearly 80 of our food stores and delivers six days a week. 

Robert Strathern said: “The Sourced Locally team at the East of England Co-op have always been very receptive to talking about any new ideas. They have helped us to develop new product lines and this has helped us to create new jobs.

“Rather than a supplier-buyer relationship it is very much a partnership, which is so refreshing when working with a supermarket. We really appreciate their continued support of our business.”