John graduated in Rural Estate Management at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester in 1993 and took the reins of the family business in the following year. John is ‘hands on’, overseeing all the daily and strategic operations within the arable business, undertaking the tractor driving, spraying, combining, purchasing and sales. John’s enthusiasm for improved farming techniques and technology to achieve high levels of efficiency has helped him to continue the family’s commitments to improved environmental and sustainable farming and Highfield Farm is run under Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme. His family has farmed at Highfield for over 120 years and one day he hopes that his son Guy may follow in his footsteps.
John founded J Savory Eggs in 1998 and quickly it became one of the largest Soil Association certified organic egg producers for Waitrose. Since 2016, John and Ellie have launched their own brand ‘Breckland Brown’ premium free range chicken eggs and now supply primarily to restaurants and smaller retail. John oversees, manages and plans all the poultry on the farm between the businesses, maintaining high standards of animal welfare throughout the breeding, rearing and end stage processes.
John, also a commissioned Officer in the RAF Reserves for several years before the children were born, still has a great interest in the military and often recalls his time spent at RAF Marham with great pride and enthusiasm.
When not working – which is not often!, John loves nothing more than going off shooting in the winter months or tinkering around with his series 1 Landrover, he enjoys taking it for a jaunt, laden with Ellie’s cooking on a family picnic down to the farm on a sunny day. John has a metal detector, which he uses around the farm and can often be found with his loyal friends, Isla, Sansa, Gretel and Gimli, digging up his finds whilst out walking around the farm. He is also a keen Lepidoptera – the study of moths!
Ellie and her husband John were the ones that had the brainwave resulting in Norfolk Quail. Watching over the business since it started with 20 Quail in a stable, Ellie now is primarily in charge of business planning and strategy, marketing and PR and the accounts.
A farmer’s daughter, Ellie too has a great interest in conservation and the countryside. It’s a real team effort and as husband and wife, John and Ellie take great pride in being able to work together full time, being able to draw on each other’s strengths to build a business with strong family foundations.
Ellie is a qualified Project Manager having previously worked in a locally run organisation to develop health and safety qualifications and supporting the development and implementation of schemes to improve the safety of workers for the construction industry. Also qualified in customer services, health and safety, first aid and HACCP, she also ensures that documentation and appraisals for staff training and development is maintained.
When not on the phone to customers or doing the paperwork, Ellie can often be found riding her beloved ex racehorse, Jennings, cycling or pounding the lanes in a bid to beat her previous personal best.
And when not exploring the great outdoors, Ellie enjoys spending time watching her two children Guy and Grace playing sports, in particular rugby and cricket. Her other great passion is cooking, where Ellie has a reputation for ensuring that nobody ever goes hungry.
Family time is spent hacking the horses around the farm, inspecting Daddy’s crops and observing the plentiful wildlife and making sure the local rabbit and pigeon populations aren’t nibbling at them.
Guy and Grace
Guy and Grace are the youngest members of the team.
Guy is a keen sportsman and loves his farming. He is already running his own crop trialing scheme in his mother’s flowerbeds! Worryingly his spring beans are doing rather better than his fathers! Sadly poor Ellie’s flowers and vegetables are not doing quite so well!
Guy loves his pony and enjoys hacking around the farm. He’s also a keen rugby player with great ambitions of one day playing for England! Grace adores her cricket and also showing her pony, Peter Pan and has recently decided to take up side saddle.
Grace and Guy love their baking – especially banana bread made from the eggs on the farm. Farmers in the making they are experts already at packing eggs or birds for customers and counting out day old quail chicks. Guy can also regularly be seen cutting the grass or driving the RTV around with fencing repairs and bedding or feed supplies.
Polly started at Norfolk Quail in October 2016 coming to John and Ellie’s aid in helping to pack quail for the busy Christmas period. Polly quickly impress them with her talents, quite prepared to turn a hand to anything and in the New Year was taken on full time as Directors’ PA. Now involved in everything from posting invoices to the accounts system, contacting customers for orders, updating the website and designing new marketing to counting out chicks and setting staff rotas, Polly is an invaluable member of the team.
Having previously worked in the Thoroughbred industry, she comes from a farming background and says she loves life at Norfolk Quail. Helping out in the office as well as around the farm, life is never boring!
When not working Polly can either be found sketching new designs for her own business enterprise ‘Polly Baker Textiles’ or enjoying her horse, Desmond who has become a frequent visitor to Norfolk Quail and is always fascinated in watching the flocks of free range chickens from over the paddock fence.
Richard, a Master Butcher came to us in November 2016 as Production Supervisor after working at Papworth Butchers in Fakenham. Fiercely loyal he had been there ever since he had left school at 18, in total working there for 14 years gaining a great deal of valuable experience and greatly appreciated by everyone who knows him for his wonderful customer service.
Richard grew up on the Sandringham Estate where his father was a keeper. He loves his shooting and stalking, and although never admitting to it, he is a very good shot! Richard often helps John in controlling the large number of Roe deer around the farm, and everybody very much enjoys eating them too!
In the summer months he can be found captaining the Sandringham cricket team, often picking up a few war wounds along the way. We can always tell when Richard has played cricket purely by the fact that he cannot walk the following day!
Richard lives with his wife Sarah and his two little girls, Bethany and Alice.
Dave started at Norfolk Quail in August 2015. Originally working on the farm with the Quail, Dave is now Richard’s right hand man, processing in the plant. Qualified with is HACCP Level 2 this year, he is a trusted member of the team, Dave can be totally relied upon, always with a smile on his face.
Dave enjoys going out for a meal with his wife Linda, who kindly helps us to label our Quail egg boxes.
Dave and Linda have two dogs, a cocker spaniel named Henry and a poodle called Louie. Both dogs love a walk on the marshes next to Wells – next – the – Sea, alongside Dave and Linda’s grandchildren, and Louie is a dab hand at agility.
Cooking is their other great love, trying out recipes in our new cookbook, as well as being our chief seller!
Wendy started working for John in January 2003 as a Poultry Assistant to care for the hens and collect the eggs each day. As the longest standing employee on the farm, she’s been very much involved in the business’s growth. Wendy is well known to our local customers many of whom place their egg orders directly with her so that she can grade and pack their eggs to their specific requirements.
A keen gardener and homemaker, Wendy is mother of two daughters and grandmother to two little ones, with one more on the way! She enjoys reading, comedy, watching rugby and Formula 1 racing (with a particular interest in Nico Hulkenberg).
Olga has also been part of the team for several of years, initially working part time at weekends for about six years, she joined us full time in 2010. Olga is a lady of many talents working with both the chickens and the quail working to ensure all their welfare needs are met. She can be relied upon to help with everything from placing eggs into the incubators, counting chicks, mucking out, undertaking vaccinations and also packing eggs for customers. She also works in the meat processing plant supporting the production team to wax and finish birds for customers. And like everyone who spends time handling the meat, she too has a HACCP Level 2 qualification.
Olga has a husband, daughter and grandson, who when she can be persuaded to take her holiday she enjoys spending time with. She’s also a keen gardener regularly spending her evenings at home looking after the extensive gardens of her landlord.
Kieron began working for us in August 2015 as an apprentice at Easton College. Having finished his apprentice in March 2017 we were thrilled to have him join the team full time.
A cheerful and helpful member of the team, Kieron will turn his hand to anything from cultivating the land, corn carting, feeding poultry and plucking quail. He is always keen to learn new skills, gaining not only his Telehandler license but also his spraying certificate and food hygiene qualifications.
Kieron enjoys spending his weekends playing football, ‘chilling out’ and partying hard in Norwich!
Known as Hippy to his friends and uncle to Kieron, Hippy started at Norfolk Quail in December 2016.
Hippy cares for the Quail on a daily basis, making sure that they are fed and watered, along with doing the three daily egg collections, where he sorts and packs ready for our customers or pops them into the incubator.
Outside of work, Hippy, enjoys shooting, fishing and beating. A valued member of his shooting syndicate, the pheasants, ducks, partridges and pigeons that are shot, are best enjoyed with some crispy roast potatoes alongside his wife Teresa.
Hippy’s proudest moment was catching a 21llb Pike in the river Wensum in Gt. Ryburgh.