Will Steward now runs the farm and Living Larder with his wife Aimee. Today, they distribute around 200 boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables around the Island every week. About 90% of the vegetables are from their own 12 acres of garden, the rest sourced from the Island.
Although born on the Island, Will returned after a career as an engineer on the mainland to run the farm. ‘A lot of people thought we were crazy, but we were driven by what we wanted to do. It may have been a naïve leap of faith, but I saw it as my way back to the Island.’
In 2014 Will piloted a vegetable box scheme supplying around 20 family and friends and has simply not looked back. In 2015 his family launched Living Larder to deliver boxes to people’s door. ‘It’s about fresh produce, clear traceability and a pride in our own growing ability and heritage,’ he says. Order a box and, depending on season and availability you can expect to munch away on potatoes, tomatoes, onions, mixed baby leaf salad, Milan turnip, rainbow chard, green peppers, Orla main crop potatoes, butternut squash, leeks, fennel, kale and carrots. The farmland is currently in the process of being certificated as organic.
‘You need to keep in mind that when your family has lived on a farm on the Isle of Wight for four generations and looked after it, you have a strong sense of identity and duty.’ he says. ‘It’s somewhere you are proud to live. It was ingrained in me to look after the place. I remember as a child starting school that I cried and said I wanted to be back on the farm. I’m from the Island and that boundary of the water makes such a difference. I want to see it become a better place.’