Author: Ruth Trolove

Cultiv8 Visit- I am a Cider Drinker…

Cultiv8 Visit- I am a Cider Drinker…

Written by Claire Wirght, Cultiv8 Member

One of the best bits about being a member of Cultiv8 is the chance to get out and about to visit inspiring rural businesses. The March meeting was no exception as we got the chance to visit Saxby’s Cider near Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Philip Saxby welcomed us all to the farm and explained how the diversification had arisen mostly by accident when he was approached to grow apples for a juice manufacturer; he decided instead to plant some apple trees and have a go at producing cider. To his own admission the first few attempts were pretty rough and undrinkable. He then attended a cider making (you don’t brew cider!) course and the results were a resounding hit.

All the apples are pressed on the farm before being left to ferment; the end product is then sent away to be bottled at a dedicated plant in the West Country as the same bottling line cannot be used for beer and cider.

Production has expanded in recent years and the range of ciders now includes the popular fruit flavoured ciders. This involves adding natural flavour to the original apple cider rather than relying on artificial sweeteners and colourings. As a result the ciders are suitable for those with gluten intolerance; as no finings are added during the production process the cider is also suitable for vegans.  Needless to say Philip is very fussy about where he sources these additional fruit ingredients and the strawberries and plums come from Herefordshire while the rhubarb comes from Yorkshire.

The latest addition to the products is Slider, a potent mixture of cider and the gin infused sloes that are a by-product of the sloe gin manufacturing at Warner Edwards’ distillery!

After the talk there was a chance to visit the small on-site shop for a tasting session. I can testify that the original cider, the plum cider and the rhubarb cider were all delicious; although I wasn’t brave enough to try the Slider without a mixer!

We all clanked away carrying many bottles of our favourite ciders and I think we can safely say that we are all cider drinkers now….

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The Skills Service Careers Show- Mission Possible

The Skills Service Careers Show- Mission Possible

The East of England Agricultural Society is proud to be supporting the Agri-Food section of Mission Possible, a careers event run by The Skills Service at the East of England Showground.

The event is the biggest skills and careers event in the East of England, targeted at 14-24 year olds with the aim of showcasing the wide variety of businesses, sectors and opportunities available, both locally and beyond.

The East of England plays a large and integral part in British agriculture and food production. Defra’s 2015 figures show that 40 698 people were employed on farms in the region, and 2017 figures from the NFU state that 476 000 people are employed on farms across the country. These figures don’t even include those that work in the allied industries.

This event allows us to inspire the next generation at the age where they are deciding what their next steps in life could be. Whether it is selecting university courses, apprenticeships, further education courses, or developing interests outside of education, all it could take to get them onto the path of agriculture and food production could be showing the full extent of the industry in a positive and enthusiastic light at this event!

Trade stand price varies depending on the size and requirements of each company, as a guide a 3mx3m trade stand with shell scheme, electric, spotlights, table, chairs and Wi-Fi is £300 + VAT

To get involved, or for more information visit

Shuttleworth Lecture- Sir Peter Kendall

Shuttleworth Lecture- Sir Peter Kendall

We are delighted to be welcoming Sir Peter Kendall as guest speaker for this years Shuttleworth Lecture, the event is free to attend and open to all. To book your place email Ruth at or call 01733 234451

Funeral Details Mr Roy Bird MBE

Funeral Details Mr Roy Bird MBE

Following the sad news that Mr Roy Bird MBE passed away last week, please see the details of his funeral below.

15th February 2018 @ 11am

The service is to be held at Peterborough Cathedral

Followed by a celebration of Roy’s Life at the East of England Showground.

Entries now open for Royal Handwriting Awards

Entries now open for Royal Handwriting Awards

News release

January 2018

Entries now open for Royal Handwriting Awards

The East of England Agricultural Society is delighted to announce that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother’s Handwriting Awards are now open for entries.

The handwriting competition supported by Cross Pens invites children of school age living or attending schools within the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Peterborough.

Four classes are made up from entries of Key Stage 1, 2, 3 and plus a special class which considers the special needs of the pupils. When selecting the winning entries the judges look in detail for correct copying of the poem, the formation of letters and words, correct positioning of punctuation and the overall presentation.

“We are excited to be able to offer this prestigious competition to the schools in our region and feel it is extremely important to be able to reward the children and schools for their hard work” says Gemma Killingworth, coordinator of the awards.

Schools are asked to read and follow the competition schedule and send entries back to the East of England Agricultural Society no later than 12noon on Monday 4th June 2018.

Judging will then be carried out by a panel of judges from the participating Counties with results announced at the end of June.

For more information about the competition and to download the schedule please visit the website www.eastofengland,org,uk or contact Gemma Killingworth or call 01733 234451.




Note to editors

The East of England Agricultural Society has been at the forefront of championing agriculture and livestock for three centuries. With a rich history that dates back to 1797, the merger of five local agricultural Societies in 1970 saw the creation of the East of England Agricultural Society that we know today.

For further press information please contact Kerry Buttriss on 01733 234451 or email

Cultiv8- A Year in Review

Cultiv8- A Year in Review

Cultiv8 managed to squeeze a lot into 2017, here is a recap of what we got up to throughout the year.

We kicked off the year with the Inaugural Cultiv8 Ball in February. Our theme was the Best of British and we were very impressed with the lengths that people went to with the decorate your own table competition!

Our Cultiv8 Ball Flyer

March was a busy month, we started out with a meeting with Gary Waterfall, who came to talk to the group about his experiences in the RAF and related everything back to managing people and yourself. This was a fascinating talk and everyone went away with something to think about.

Later on in March a number of Cultiv8 members attended the Shuttleworth Lecture, where Charles Shropshire talked through his views on Brexit, and we rounded the month off with an inspiring talk from our very own Tom Martin, who talked to us about his experience when he travelled to the RASC conference in Singapore through a Cultiv8 grant.

In April Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch and the Cambridgeshire Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) joined us to talk about rural crime, what we can do to help combat it and how Cambridgeshire is more advanced in rural policing than our neighbouring counties.

Farm Walk at Thurlow Estate

May was a real eye opener when we visited Johnsons of Old Hurst. A farm that has built on its success and reputation through diversification and thinking outside the box, we took a tour around the farm which is populated with buffalo, red deer, ostrich and crocodiles we also took a look around the farm shop, tea room and steak house. Members were also invited to attend the Societies Farm Walk around Thurlow Estate, a farm based on a Second World War bomber airfield, using a former hanger as part of their impressively sized grain store.

In June a Special Interest Group visited Dawn Meats at Cardington to walk the production line and hear about the supply chain of both cattle and sheep before and after they the Cardington site. We also heard about the reach of the Dawn Meats brand throughout Europe.

July involved a visit to Milton Estate for a tour around the Stables and Kennels, including the striking roundhouse in the stable yard currently acting as a tack room. We also heard about how the Fitzwilliam Hunt work with farmers across the Estate and beyond with both the hunting and the removal of deadstock.

Tom Martin & Amelia Rome in Singapore at RASC conference, funded by Cultiv8

Syngenta helped us kick start September with a special interest group focused on how selection of spray nozzles can improve efficacy and reduce wastage. Our main meeting for September was a tour of CN Seeds at Ely where we heard about the work that they put into plant breeding and producing seeds for the market.

Jane King, CEO of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) came to talk to Cultiv8 about the work that the AHDB are involved with and what has changed within the board over the past few years. Jane also covered her career journey including her time as Editor at the Farmers Weekly.

October also saw the launch of the Cultiv8 benchmarking group. In partnership with the AHDB our members have the opportunity to record their home farm results on the FarmBench system in order to make comparisons and analyse what improvements can be made to members business at home.

We also ventured beyond the East of England borders to Westminster for a tour of the Houses of Parliament, a meeting with Baroness Byford and the opportunity to watch the House of Lords in session.

Cultiv8 visit Johnsons of Old Hurst in May

Novembers visit was a tour around the Dodson & Horrell factory in Islip, where we saw the extent of the business they are running, making everything from insect feed to horse feed. The efficiency required to continue sustainably manufacturing the products is impressive, as is the drive for business development and expansion.

We rounded off the year in the Northampton Suite at the Showground with a social, to accompany our mulled wine and mince pies we sampled crocodile steaks, zebra steaks and wild boar burgers.

Jane King talk (photo Lisa Martin)

Amongst all of this we also launched an award where we fund a member of Cultiv8 to attend the Oxford Farming Conference, two of our members were finalists in the Farm Business Awards and we had a lot of members take up the discounted ticket on offer for the East of England Farming Conference.

2017 was a busy year and we look forward to developing our programme further and finding some more exciting talks and visits for 2018!


More about Cultiv8



Ruth Trolove

01733 234451- Agriculture Extension

Cultiv8, East of England Showground, Peterborough, PE2 6XE


2017-18 Committee

Chairman- Rob Wilkinson

Vice Chairman- Charles Robinson, Harry Horrell

Committee- Tom Arthey, Ben Beazley, Hannah Darby, Jamie Mashall-Roberts, Amy Panton, Peter Sharpley, Claire Wright

LAMMA & Members Parking

LAMMA & Members Parking

Please note: The forward parking for Members at LAMMA next week is now fully booked.

Those that have booked already will be sent a pass in the post. Please enter through the Alwalton Gate (next to the harvester pub) and place the pass so it is visible to security in your windscreen.

The Society will be sharing a stand with the East of England Arena in Hall 7, stand 721 and we will also be in the Marketing Suite with hot drinks and biscuits. We hope you can find the time to pop in and see us.

LAMMA takes place on the 17th & 18th January at the East of England Showground, for more information please visit

Upcoming Events

9:00 am Northamptonshire Young Farmers R... @ Ashby Furze Farm
Northamptonshire Young Farmers R... @ Ashby Furze Farm
May 26 @ 9:00 am
The East of England Agricultural Society is proud to sponsor the Northamptonshire Young Farmers Rally, hosted by Grendon YFC. For more information about Northampton Young Farmers, click here
all-day Cambridgeshire County Show @ Wimpole Home Farm
Cambridgeshire County Show @ Wimpole Home Farm
Jun 3 all-day
The East of England Agricultural Society is pleased to sponsor the Cambridgeshire County Show incorporating the Cambridgeshire Young Farmers Rally. For more information about Cambridgeshire Young Farmers, please click here