Questers New Forest Fruit Farm Visit 2021

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Automatic Tilting Syatem


Sandy Booth

At the Farm


​30 Questers assembled on a balmy July 1st afternoon at the New Forest Fruit Farm near Beaulieu. We were met by the farmer, Sandy Booth, who gave us a very personal and fascinating tour of the vast area of poly tunnels on one of his three farms.

Sandy, the son of a farmworker, came to fruit farming with many fresh ideas and is pioneering ever better ways of providing tasty, fresh produce. The first tunnel we visited was a new way of growing asparagus making use of coir mulch and thick plastic matting to conserve heat and produce some of the earliest asparagus in UK.

We moved on to tunnels described “as a bit of fun” where Sandy was experimenting growing red and white grape varieties that could harvest 2 or 3 years earlier than conventional vineyards.
The strawberry plants here were only a few weeks old, Sandy explained how he could tell the size of the crop from the emerging flowers.
Finally to the ripening strawberries where we sampled different varieties and noted the names so we could identify them in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Aldi.
There is an Automatic tilting system that makes harvesting easier and allows the pickers to use 2 hands
An enjoyable and fascinating visit and well worth the 2+ miles walked. We thanked Sandy for his time and he thanked us for coming with a large punnet of fresh strawberries for each of us.

Some facts about the farm
Both bumble and honey bees are introduced to the tunnels at the appropriate times to assist pollination.
All the plants are grown in containers off the ground and fed with nutrients from the extensive irrigation system. Sandy is experimenting harvesting the strawberries using a robot. He is also working to produce a snack product to make use of the small fruits not suitable for the supermarkets.


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