Our growers strive wherever possible to farm hand in hand with nature and work with the Farm and Wildlife Advisory Group and other consultancy bodies to carry out environmental best practice.
Crayfish and otters have made their home in rivers alongside some of the watercress farms in Hampshire and every effort is being made to enhance their habitat.
Increasingly the watercress growers are looking to natural methods to combat the predators and insects that enjoy feasting on the watercress too. Pigeons and insects like to try their luck but the growers regularly fly falcons and hawks to scare away the pigeons. Rare bats, who can consume as many as 3,000 insects a night, are increasingly seen flying around at night thanks to the joint work by the watercress farmers and a Dorset bat conservation society.
It is a refreshing thought that the watercress we eat now is from a plant that has hardly changed since the days of the ancient Romans. It is grown in mineral rich spring water running over washed gravel beds, whose huge green carpets are home to Kingfishers, Meadow Pipits, Warblers and Snipe and many other rare birds – a veritable twitchers’ paradise.
Grown on gravel beds and washed by pure spring water, watercress was a natural convert to organic production. Today, over five per cent of the market is grown to the Soil Association’s strict standards. Organic watercress is available at all major supermarket retailers.