In 1908 Frederick Augustus Secrett borrowed £1,000 from his father to purchase 20 acres of land in Kew. The first crops to be harvested were salads, leguminous crops, early cauliflower and sea kale and these were sold from F A Secrett’s stand at Brentford market.
F A as he was known, purchased Marsh Farm in Twickenham in 1915 –100 acres that included 6 acres of daffodils and tulips, sold from a stand in Covent Garden.
Holly Lodge in Walton on Thames was purchased in 1932 but after a few years it was taken over by the water board and turned into a reservoir.
F A Secrett moved to our present site at Hurst Farm in Milford, Surrey in 1937 and during the second World War the farm had reached one of the highest levels of vegetable production in the country. After the war the farm expanded to 300 acres and the first half acre of glasshouse was built for the cultivation of salad crops and cut flowers. During the 1960’s a ‘state of the art’ irrigation system was installed that is still use today! This allowed a wide variety of crops to be grown for markets throughout Britain. During peak periods 40-50 tonnes of vegetables a day were sent to Covent Garden and Brentford Markets.
The 1970’s saw a challenging period in the horticultural industry. Crops were dramatically reduced, cut flowers phased out along with the teams of cart horses. The company sought new directions with the opening of the Garden Centre in 1970 and the Farm Shop in 1979. During the 1980’s Secretts were the first growers to make spinach available to the supermarkets. Expansion continued on the retail side with the opening of the Pick Your Own in 1981 and the addition to the Farm Shop of a delicatessen in 1982. The farm also turned over two thirds of an acre to vine production and in 1993 the first bottle of Milford Rose was produced. In its last year of production in 1996 there were 7,000 bottles of Milford Rose.
During the 1990’s Secretts Farm was the first in the country to grow wild rocket and began to supply top London restaurants with produce. A two and half acre glass house was opened, dedicated to growing cut flowers for sale in the company’s new Flower Shop. Secretts Flowers by Post service was established, followed by Secretts Asparagus by Post during the short season of this crop. In the late 1990’s the Secrett Rendezvous Restaurant was opened at the Garden Centre, followed by Eliza’s vintage style Tea Room & Gift Shop at the Farm Shop.
Waverley Borough Council held its first Farmers’ Market at Secretts in 1998 and the markets continue on the third Sunday of every month.
In 2000, the large glasshouse ceased its production of cut flowers and began to cater for the increasing demand for salad crops by growing gourmet salad leaves. These salads and other farm crops continue to be sold to top restaurants in London and the South East. Secretts gourmet salad leaves have been part of the ‘Secretts by Post’ service since 2005.
F A’s grandson, Charles Secrett heads the family business today and the fourth generation, Charles’ son Greg is the Manager of the farm, continuing the vision of his Great Grandfather.Tweet