Tony and Eileen Cracknell bought their home and 5 acres of land when they married in 1954, and the small-holding began. Gradually stock increased, and as patches of adjoining land became available Tony would buy them, but only if he considered the price to be good - Tony has always had an eye for a bargain!
Tony was always good at improvising and could put any government to shame when it comes to recycling initiatives: some of the early sheds were built from firewood and even coffin-boards.
Jeff was ‘hatched out‘ on the farm, the youngest of a brood of 4, having 3 older sisters. It became apparent from a very early age that farming was in Jeffrey’s blood. He would tackle just about any outdoor work apart from milking the goats which his sisters were better at doing.
Jeff was delighted when the day finally came that he could leave school, all he had ever wanted to do was farming. His dreams had always contained big, shiny tractors and were never about rearing chicken. It was with high hopes that he set off on his trial-bike to the first day's work on the farm to which he was apprenticed. Tony roared with laughter when Jeff came home saying he had spent all day collecting eggs - not really what Jeff had in mind!
As time passed Jeff became self-employed and gained much valuable experience working on several different farms. At the same time Jeff, Tony and Eileen built up the poultry business and went into partnership together. Now, approximately 30 years later Jeff is running the business and Tony and Eileen have retired though they still live on the farm. Jeff's own 4 children have enjoyed growing up and helping on the farm just as he did.
Much has changed in agriculture since Cracknell's Farm started around 6 decades ago: mechanisation has made for greater efficiencies; legislation for increased difficulty, and bureaucracy for much more paper. One thing that has remained a constant on Cracknell's Farm is the same work ethic and pride in producing a top-notch product which once sampled makes most chicken taste second-rate.
We celebrated Tony's 90th birthday in 2018 by enjoying a home-grown roast dinner - yummy.