About Rectory Farm
Rectory Farm grow a wide range of soft fruits, vegetables, cereals and potatoes just outside Oxford. The Pick Your Own is what we are renowned for but ready picked produce directly from the farm is increasing in popularity.
The Pick Your Own alongside The Tractor Shack is open from 25th April to October every year.
"Visiting Rectory Farm in Stanton St John is an enjoyable experience, particularly for families. Not only do you get to feel as though you have got back to the land, while you pick strawberries or asparagus, but there is a bouncy castle and slide for the children, a decent, competitively-priced café, and a ready picked selection ie a greengrocer's". (Oxford Times)
Richard and Carla rent Rectory Farm from New College, Oxford and the adjacent land at Manor Farm in Forest Hill from Lincoln College. Extra bits of land are rented to grow potatoes in the surrounding area. It has some easily worked land which was vitally important before tractors. Many crops at Rectory Farm are irrigated and two reservoirs were constructed in 1993 to add to the first irrigation scheme constructed in 1964. The reservoirs ensure a supply of water which is vital when there are droughts!
Paul Clark manages the Pick Your Own whole orders and all the horticultural operations. He first came to the farm in 1987 - the year of the great storm. He came from to us from a Hertfordshire farm and previously studied at Horticultural College.
Gabriel manages our Farm Shop and Tinka runs The Tractor Shack.
Andrew Ford has been at the farm since age 14, in the early 1960s, and is now head tractor driver.
Richard and Carla Stanley have been farming at Rectory Farm since 1980. That was the year when the Pick Your Own opened with just 1 1/2 acres of strawberries and 1/2 acre of Raspberries. Since then the PYO has grown to covering some 45 acres at our main PYO and Shop site and a further 30 acres of Asparagus. We also grow about 110 acres of Potatoes (nearly 2000 tonnes) and 750 acres of Wheat and Oilseed rape. Nearly all our Wheat (approx 1800 tonnes) is contracted to Warburtons to make bread - we only grow breadmaking wheat.
Rectory Farm has been owned by New College since 1539 and has throughout the ages provided food for the inhabitants of Oxford. It has some easily worked land which before tractors when only human and horse power was available was vitally important.
New College tenants have farmed the land at Rectory Farm in Stanton St John for nearly 500 years. The most famous tenant was John White (1575 to 1648) who became the Warden (Head) of New College, and founded the colony of Massachusetts in New England. His base was in Dorchester in Dorset from where he organised ships to sail to New England. He is commemorated with a plaque on the front door of the house opposite the church in Stanton St John where he was born. To this day the Warden of New College makes a summer "progress" round their estates and lands accompanied by his "outriders", Bursar, and Land Agent. The "Outriders" who still exist as members of New College were there, of course, to stop the Warden being robbed (or worse) by highway men. It clearly worked as no New College Warden has lost his life on "progress". Nowadays the progress is swifter as cars have replaced horses and coaches and it seems a bit safer too.