The Thompson family have been farming fruit and vegetables at Brook Farm, near Harwich in Essex since 1948. Today, George Thompson Ltd are market leaders in specialist products for the oriental food service sector and niche crops for premium food service customers – from apricots to figs and wild garlic to sea purslane, as well as growing apples and pears for retail.
George Thompson Ltd produce consistently high-quality produce for their customers while working hard to preserve and enhance the countryside around them.
George Thompson Produce
Products for the Chinese market
George Thompson Ltd are the sole producers of ‘TL’ or Thompson’s Leaf, an important ingredient for Chinese restaurants and jumbo salad onions selected and grown exclusively for the Chinese sector.
Stone fruit, figs, rhubarb and citrus
A selection of varieties of apricot and ‘Lizzie’ plums are grown by George Thompson Ltd., and their outdoor fig orchard is the only one in the UK. They also have our own variety of rhubarb.
Apples & pears
George Thompson grow Braeburn, Opal®, Topaz, and Evelina apples as well as Conference Pears. They are innovators in fruit growing; always selecting and tasting new varieties to find the best.
George Thompson Brands
Instead of letting unwanted apples and pears from their own farm be wasted, George Thompson Ltd turn it into juice through their fruit juice brand, Cotchel. In 2018, Cotchel’s Topaz & Evelina apple juice won the highest prize of Three Stars at the Great Taste Awards.
Cotchel’s sister brand, Reliquum, produces a London Dry Gin with farm-grown botanicals including an eau de vie made from their own apples. Botanicals included in the gin are Calamondin, an unusual citrus fruit which is also grown on the farm.
Two other spirits produced by Reliquum include Reliquum Plum and Reliquum Apricot, which blend London Dry gin with tree-ripened fruit.
George Thompson Ltd in Essex
George Thompson Ltd is located at a third-generation family farm run by the Thompson family at Brook Farm at Great Oakley in North Essex.
Founded in 1948, they have gradually expanded over the last 70 years and are now leaders in specialist products for the wholesale markets and food service sector.
The fields and orchards at Brook Farm straddle the ridge that runs down the north eastern tip of Essex near Harwich. Brook Farm enjoys a maritime climate perfect for growing with the Stour Estuary to the north, the marshes and backwaters of Hamford Water to the south and the North Sea to the East. The combination of good soil, high light levels and the maritime climate provide ideal conditions for fruit & vegetable growing.
Today, George Thompson Ltd farm about 450 acres, working with neighbouring farmers to allow for crop rotations. The farm is run by George Thompson’s grandson and Managing Director, Pete Thompson, who lives on the premises. The Chairman, Non-Executive and Production Directors, as well as other family board members help to oversee a diverse and dynamic young team which is led by Farm Manager, Kim Allen.
Although they usually employ 25 regular staff, the team is bolstered in summer months by seasonal staff from both home and abroad to help meet seasonal peaks of production.
The Thompson’s brand and products are inextricably linked to our Essex location, the physical location and assets of land and climate are such that we consider ourselves to be in the perfect location. This allied with our proximity to London and the consolidated customer base this provides mean we will continue to look to expand within the area. We are now also beginning to realize the benefits of our transport links to the continent through Harwich as we increasingly trade with our EU partners.
George Thompson Ltd.
Future Plans in Essex
The company is increasingly taking on innovation projects for 3rd parties, hosting trials and undertaking research for clients. This element of the business looks set to take on a more prominent role in 2019 when the ‘Holt Farm Innovation Centre’ is due to open.
A purpose built hi-tech glasshouse featuring integrated solar PV transparent glass and home to integrated aquaculture and horticulture, the ‘Holt Farm Innovation Centre’ will feature a development kitchen and meeting room at which George Thompson Ltd will be able to showcase new products.
2019 will also see additions to the Reliquum and Cotchel ranges as well as the expansion of sales of these products nationally.
The English Oca Company is a forthcoming George Thompson Ltd brand which will see the vegetable oca supplied to various high-profile food service customers in 2019, prior to a retail launch in 2020.
George Thompson Ltd also have a significant joint venture planned to bring a completely new cropping operation to the farm which will involve investment in infrastructure and cropped land.
For more info about George Thompson Ltd, visit www.gthompsons.co.uk
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