Robin Cropper, Red Tractor potato farmer
The Cropper family has lived at Moss Lane Farm for more than 300 years – but today’s farming operation looks very different to what it did in the 18th Century.
Robin Cropper and his brother John now run the business which grows a huge amount of potatoes within the Red Tractor Assurance scheme.
In a good year more than 6,000 tonnes of spuds will be dug, processed, bagged and distributed from the farm, which has a stunning view of Liverpool – the city which has had a huge influence on the business – across its fields.
Robin said: “When my brother and I were deciding what we wanted to do with the business, we looked across the fields at Liverpool and said ‘that’s a lot of customers’.
“We knew people were interested in where their food came from, and being able to supply potatoes to such a big market locally has been fantastic.”
Fish and chip shops are the Croppers’ main customers with an incredible 75% of the potatoes they grow being consumed within 25 miles of the farm.
It reinforces what the brothers believe is important about where food comes from.
“We’re members of the Red Tractor scheme because we can show and tell people where these potatoes come from. That’s really important to our customers and we’ve supplied them for a long time because they know that they’ve been grown, handled and processed by people who care about the product.
“Within the Red Tractor scheme, we can tell people where each individual seed potato came from, which field it grew in and where it went after we put it into a bag.”
Maris Pipers are the main variety grown at Moss End Farm because it has a pale colour when fried which makes a great looking chip. It gets crispy on the outside but remains fluffy in the middle.
When people ask Robin, a single dad with three children, about what the Red Tractor scheme means, he has a simple analogy.
“If you were buying an electrical item like a toaster or a laptop charger which your children were going to use, would you buy the cheapest one which had no safety or quality mark on it and came from somewhere you’d never heard of? Or would you look for a product that had a guarantee on it that someone had checked and tested it to make sure it was up to the right standard?”
“I’m proud to be a Red Tractor farmer and to farm the fields that my father and grandfather used to look after.”
If you want to support Red Tractor farmers like Robin, look for the Red Tractor logo on the food you’re buying when you go to the shops. If it doesn’t have the logo on it, ask yourself if you know everything about where that food came from.