What is your name?

James Young – Farming in partnership with my Parents – Alistair and Sue, and my wife Lauren

What is the name and address of your business?

Hill House Farm

Hill House

Ross Road


What do you sell?

Cherries and a few apricots. Plus Cider apples for Westons. Arable crops - Wheat, Barley, Oil Seed Rape, and Beans

How was the business started?

My Parents bought the farm in 1980. Back then it was predominantly a Hop growing farm.

How big is the farm (acreage)?

The farm, included rented land is around 500 acres. 8 acres of Cherries.

How did you get into cherry farming?

When the demand for English hops started to decline in the 90’s, my father was looking to replace them with something else other than arable crops. The first trees were planted in the mid 90’s and we have gradually grown in size since then. The majority of the crop is sold at the farm gate, with some excess being sold to the supermarkets via a 3rd party.

What do you think of Ledbury as a place to have a farm?

I was born in Ledbury, and have lived here most of my life – apart from a few years at University, and some time in Bristol. Ledbury is a great place to farm as you are surrounded by other family type farms, so there is a good farming community

It is cherry season – is it a busy time of year for you?

The whole of the summer is a busy time for the farm, but cherry season is particularly busy - but only lasts around three weeks, so its over before you know it.

What happens at this time of year on the farm?

At this time of year, nothing much else happens that doesn’t involve cherries. We start every morning at 5am to hand pick the cherries required on the farm shop. When we are not picking we are selling them to the customers, along with a few other staff members. The cherry season marks the start of the whole harvest season on the farm. Once the cherries are done, we move onto the arable harvest, and finally the apple harvest – and in between that there is also the planting of next years crops.

Has cherry farming changed over the past few years and if so, how?

Cherry farming has changed quite considerably since we started picking our first cherries in 1996. At that time there wasn’t really an English cherry industry. There were a few grown on large old style trees, but this was mainly in Kent. We were one of the first growers in Herefordshire that tried on modern dwarf trees, and under rain covers. Now they are all grown under poly tunnels, and the varieties have changed and the cherry area in the UK has grown exponentially.

What is the best thing about being a cherry farmer?

We are lucky that most of our cherries are sold direct to our customers, rather than to a supermarket. It is lovely to see the same faces coming round to buy cherries every year, and to hear the positive feedback on how much the enjoy them, and look forward to the cherry season every year.