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King’s Mills growing dynasty comes to end after century

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MORE than a century of Dorey family farming at Brooklands Farm has come to an end.

Graham and Linda Dorey with their dogs Penny and Daisy at Brooklands Farm, Castel. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28287609)

Graham and Linda Dorey announced their retirement from growing this week. The King’s Mills site had become famous for the tens of thousands of pumpkins grown there each year.

Mr Dorey, 66, had said they had decided last year that they would not be growing this year and the coronavirus outbreak had cemented their resolve that they had made the right decision.

‘It has been nice to see all the positive comments and how much people had appreciated it,’ he said.

‘I really enjoyed it.’

The Dorey family already had a long history with King’s Mills when Graham Dorey’s grandfather Emile Dorey took on the lease for Brooklands in 1910. In 1922 he bought the farm. He later passed it to his son, Len, and it then went to Graham.

Mr Dorey said he had started working on the farm for his father when he left school.

‘He used to grow potatoes and then we moved to vegetables,’ he said.

‘We had a farm shop selling a lot of vegetables for quite a few years.’

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The farm had become famous locally for its pumpkins. Mr Dorey said they started growing them more than 20 years ago, after seeing how popular they were becoming in the UK.

‘We started off with one vergee and it progressed from there,’ he said.

Last year there were 12 vergees, producing tens of thousands of pumpkins and squashes of all shapes and sizes. Mr Dorey said it was strange this year not to be growing them. The couple have given up all the fields and are renting them out.

Mr Dorey said there was a lot of work to do around the farmhouse. While none of his family were interested in going into farming, Mr Dorey said they would be staying at the farm for now, although they might look at downsizing in the future.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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