In 1896 The Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS) bought its first farm at Roden in Shropshire, with the primary purpose of growing potatoes and other crops for local co-operative society food stores. The 714 acres that formed the Roden estate were purchased for £30,000, a large investment at that time. Marden in Herefordshire followed in 1914 and then land at Coldham was bought in 1912 where we still farm today.
Around the turn of the century farming was a highly labour intensive and physically tough job relying primarily on horse power. Many extra labourers had to be taken on in the summer months in order to get the crops harvested, a mammoth task needing a big team effort.