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our story

Its all a bit weird really and a fusion of worlds!

The Hawking family are third generation farmers who over the years have developed the mixed family farm to include a wedding and event venue.

The Duck Family however, who are partners in the Chilli Farm, come from a background in printing and banking.

The Chilli Farm should never really have happened – but it did – and oh what fun its been!

Alex Duck left the print industry in 2007 to rent a yard on Manor Farm involved in the recycling industry. He soon got roped in to helping David move animals and got a taste for the farming life. Somewhere in the middle of this he asked David if he could start growing chillies on the farm. To Alex’s surprise David agreed and in the winter of 2008 and without any experience of growing chillies, the first 60ft x 22ft tunnel was erected.

There was no real incentive for it to become a business and indeed it took a few years to really take off, but even in that initial year we attracted 500 people to the first chilli festival and began to realise there was a growing movement towards spicy food. We also realised that ‘Chilli Heads’ are interesting people and our descent into the colourful world of chilli worship had begun.

12 years on and the chilli farm has gone from strength to strength. We now farm nearly 12,000sq/ft of poly tunnel space, growing chillies from mild to wild. Our range of products has expanded from initially just sauces to now include beers, rubs and Make Your Own Kits! Our products are very well known and stocked in outlets across the country. We supply a number of restaurants and food outlets and tailor make sauces with white labels for many more. We also provide the Jalapeños for the new Upton Cheyney, Jalapeño and Dill Pipers Crisps!

The chilli farm has received numerous awards and has been featured on some interesting programmes including Country File, Blue Peter, Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puddings and Friday on the Farm. We were also awarded the Small Business Sunday honour by Theo Paphitis. Our products have won multiple awards from a host of organisations including Great Taste, Taste of the West, Clifton Chilli Clubs People Choice and the Great Dorset Chilli Festival Professional sauce makers competition.

All of our products are hand made in our purpose built kitchen on the farm. You can often smell the various delicious sauces in production if you are passing!

Louise now runs the chilli farm on a daily basis, and can often be found in the chilli kitchen cooking up a new batch of sauce, in the tunnels tending to the hundreds of chilli plants or behind a stall at an event!

Alex and David continue to dirty their hands on the farm, with Alex hosting the farm tours and tasting experiences that take place on weekends between September and October. 

Our chilli festival – which is currently retired – attracted over 7000 people in 2014, and was voted the best UK chilli festival of 2014.

The farm is a wedding and event venue, hosting its own campsite during the summer season. It is also host to an amazing in house florist, Wizz and Wild!

As we stated at the beginning, its all been a bit weird with chilli love in the UK catching us unaware. We consider ourselves very lucky to be in this industry and would love for you to experience the spicy fruits of our labour!

Chilli Farm Team

The chilli farm team on Manor Farm.


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