East Lothian is known as Scotland's Bread Basket, and Winton farmland lies on the north bank of the River Tyne valley which bisects this fertile county. Our crops and livestock thrive on the rich land and end up as constituent parts of a good ploughman's lunch: cattle and wheat provide the beef sandwich; and oats and barley go into oatcakes, a pint of beer and whisky! Increasingly, we are looking for new markets for heating and cooking fuel, plastics, animal and fish feed; we can provide a complete restaurant package for the kitchen, boiler room and even latex gloves (from crushed rape seed) for food preparation!
Our cropping follows a rotation influenced by what the last crop left behind in the ground, or took with it, as well as when it was lifted and what we can sell. Generally, we grow six crops and rotate these around winter wheat, winter barley, spring barley, oil seed rape, oats and grass. The grass is grown on the poorer land or to provide a break in rotation. Potatoes are introduced where they can be irrigated. Other vegetables and fruit are sadly now left to the larger operators although they were once common.
Our soil provides the veins of our farming operations; the ground was levelled out 10,000 years ago after the last ice age. On top of the boulder clay, made up of sand, clay and stone boulders, is a rich soil which is known geologically as the Winton Soil Series. The sticky texture of much of it comes from the clay content. This helps retain water and prevent drought in summer, but makes lifting potatoes difficult after a wet autumn. For more information see the Local Geology section.
You can see Winton's main markets for farm produce by clicking on the links below: