Strawberries were grown at Brooker Farm between 1965 and 1985.
In the early days it was popular to come and "Pick-You-Own" as this picture of Mr Cragg's PYO strawberry field next to the Manor House in 1968, shows. The popularity of PYO has declined with reasonably priced strawberries available all year round from supermarkets.
At the peak, Brooker Farm grew as much as 50 acres of strawberries, first for the local trade and then for the supermarkets. The strawberries were all picked by hand and required as many as 100 people during any one day to ensure that none were wasted. Until the recent introduction of new varieties and techniques, the "season" only lasted for about 6 weeks in June and July, coinciding with Wimbledon, and as you can see from the picture, the weather did not always play ball.
Mr Cragg's Pick Your Own Strawberry Field, 1968
Strawberry pickers at Brooker Farm
Strawberry Pickers at Brooker Farm c.1980 © Jo Nelson