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Joe Cottingham

Watts Farm

Joe Cottingham farmer with Watts farm

Joe is the only non-family director of Watts Farm, which provides most of our fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. He’s been with them since the 1990s, and is treated like an adopted son.

The business began in 1952, when Donald Watts started farming after returning from World War Two. He liked to do things properly – whether mucking out pigs or pulling rhubarb, he was nearly always in a shirt and tie. Today, the farm still grows rhubarb, among many other crops, across ten sites spread around south-east England. It’s run by Donald’s daughter, Avril Gray, her husband Mike, and their son Ed, along with Joe. 

Sustainable farming is very important at Watts Farm, which is a member of LEAF Marque, Field to Fork, Red Tractor Farm Assurance Fresh Produce Scheme, and Organic Farmers & Growers. One key initiative is conserving water: a natural spring on one of the sites feeds a reservoir, which is used to water the whole farm. 

Keeping the number of food miles down is also important – for freshness as well as for environmental reasons. For example, we serve the farm’s strawberries and asparagus just two days after they’re picked, and you can really taste the difference. 

“"Eating fruit and vegetables from the UK isn’t just a delicious option. They are, of course, a lot fresher. For example, strawberries and asparagus are served in BM's restaurants just two days after we’ve picked them."”

Joe Cottingham
Watts farm Greenhouse with BM chefs visiting
Salad leaves sorter at Watts Farm