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Excelsior – our memories
We have lived on this site for over 50 years. Leon was born here in the farmhouse.
Pat and Ivan Jones moved here from Boney hay in Lichfield, Dad was a farm worker and when he was offered his own farm he was overjoyed, his own farm and so very proud. Pat’s Dad lent them the money for 30 cows. He loved them like his own blood. Sadly after the foot and mouth outbreak although untouched by it Dad decided he couldn’t stand the heartbreak of losing his herd and decided to diversify into growing Potatoes. Not just growing them he went into peeling them and chipping them too supplying them to factories and local restaurants, this lasted for several years until many factories closed down or started to peel their own.
Once again changes had to happen in order to survive, it was decided that adding onto the fields of potatoes, we would grow barley wheat and root vegetables, sprouts lettuce and leeks, supplying our own farm shop and Birmingham wholesale market . At the same time Andre (brother) and his wife Nicky went off to do a floristry course and put lovely arrangements into the shop adding wheat and other dried flowers grown on the farm. For a time the vegetable market proved very lucrative but sadly again the price dropped out of the market and it wasn’t worth picking the crop.
The leeks started to go to seed, flowering into the most beautiful purple and white globes!! As luck would have it we were exhibiting at our local agriculture show “Canwell Show”. It looked like it was going to be a good day weather wise and so everyone picked as much of the oats, wheat and other dried flowers we had, last minute it was decided to pick a few of the leek flowers (Alliums) the stand looked amazing. On the day the sun shone and we almost sold out of everything by lunchtime!!! Dad had to frantically pick everything he had available plus all of the Alliums, made more money selling them as flowers rather than leeks.
After this show the business expanded growing more dried flowers and expanding the shop even exporting to the Netherlands and more. Our Farm shop expanded into a dried flowers shop and while the trend continued they ran classes and did many corporate contracts too.
Again the trend started to change but instead of struggling we expanded into mainly wholesale adding to the collections up to 45000 products ranging from silk Flowers, giftware, candles, to basket ware and much more......Taking us up to 2001 Dad again decided he wanted to add to the business. We planted 8000 vines so now we produce up to 25000 bottles of red, white, rose still and sparkling wines. He also added 6 fishing lakes to our collection. Look up our sister company buzzardsvalley.co.uk. Sadly at this time Dad was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer, and just about saw us produce our wines on site and completion of the lakes too. He is still sadly missed.
Yvonne joined the company in 2003. Andre and Nicky left the business in 2007. Leon continues to help to expand every area of the business...
Please enjoy our web site and if you can’t find the items you need don’t hesitate to contact us....
In 2001, my Farther Ivan Jones decided to grow a few Vines, well unknown to us, this few vines was 8,000, hardly a few! For the task of planting these vines, we used a subsoil machine behind the tractor to mark the line, and the point of a post to make the hole to put the vine in. Believe me when you have planted 8000 vines you know it, but never mind, it should be at least 100 years until I have to do that again ! ! ! ! The Varieties of Vines that have been planted are:
Madeileine-Angeveine ( White ) 650
Pino-Noir (Red )/Grafted 650
Phoenix (White )/ Grafted 650
Regent (Red) Grafted 2275
Richensteiner ( White ) Grafted 650
Rondo ( Red ) Grafted 2275
Seyval Blanc ( White ) Grated 650
We have had very extensive advise off the professionals in the UK, that have been growing Vines for years in this county, and they say that all of these varieties should give us a very good selection of wines. Last year 2003 would have been our first crop, and from what advise we had from the professionals, they said that we could expect approx. 12,000 to 15,000 bottles that year, that was until, One Saturday morning I received a phone call from my sister, this was to go to the vineyard and see my father as soon as possible. My father that morning was spraying the vines for damping off, well, he had driven into the row to start, turned the sprayer on and all of the leaves started falling off the vines, What a horrible feeling that must have been, all that work.
Well I started to investigate as to what had happened, after asking a few questions, we found out that the field opposite the vineyard had been sprayed approx. four days before. We contacted the farmer who was renting that field, and asked him to let us know what it had been sprayed with, so that perhaps we could spray something else to try and counteract the spray. But alas to late the damage had already been done. So instead of getting 12,000 to 15,000 bottles, we shall only get approx. 600 bottles and the professionals seem to think that this should rectify itself in 4 years.
So in our shop we specialise in wines from all over the UK and the world, and we try to keep the selling price as keen as possible.
We do hope that you enjoy our web site