The History of Fen Peas

Fen Peas Ltd was formed as a growers co-operative in 1968 by four farmers in the Boston area. In its early days, the group grew 600 acres of peas supplying JS Frozen Foods, with the peas being processed at Christian Salvesen’s Easton plant. The company operated five trailed FMC viners running the operation 12 hours a day. During the 1970s Bill Belton and Alan Lenton joined and the acreage expanded slightly.

In 1986 all the trailed viners were sold and a new FMC 879 self-propelled viner was purchased to harvest 1000 acres of peas, still supplying JS Frozen Foods Ltd, who in turn were supplying the retail markets as well as their own brand of Farmers Pride.

The area expanded to 1500 acres in 1988 and an FMC 679 was purchased to cover this extra land. The grower base was also expanding and had increased to 18 members with the area of operation now spreading outwards from Boston.

The land base again increased in 1989 to 2500 acres, and it was at this time that Stephen Francis took over the management of the company. The 1990s saw a turbulent time in the pea industry and some groups ceased operating. This allowed Fen Peas to considerably expand its grower and customer base.

Today Fen Peas Ltd is growing 5200 acres of peas in Lincolnshire, from Waddington in the north, Holbeach in the east, Market Deeping in the south and Grantham in the east. The Company supplies Pinguin Lutosa UK (frozen peas), AP East Anglia (frozen peas) and two further specialist customers. All this from a grower base of 82 farmer members, using four modern PMC 979-CT harvesters.

Some of the grower bases are long-standing, others relatively new and some were part of other pea groups such as Rochford Tower Viners, Podded Peas, Holland Pea Growers, Deeping Peas, West Fen Peas and ASA Peas.

The People behind The Company

The Directors


Stephen Francis

Stephen’s first job in the peas was sampling in 1981 and it all continued from there. He has now run the company for over 20 years. Peas seem to be in his DNA!

The Pod Squad


Doug Pocklington

Nothing fazes Doug and he likes a challenge. He now looks after the daily logistics of the harvest has been with us for about 10 years, and gets frustrated when the plan is not going perfectly. Away from the peas, his picture tells the story of his other passions!


Paul Dealtry

If Paul could drive a viner for 365 days of the year I think he would! He has been driving pea viners for 18 years now. About half of that time with Fen Peas. For his sins, he follows Lincoln City.


James Gray

James is new to us this year but has plenty of experience handling agricultural machinery. His "other" job is breeding the next Shergar!


Henry Pocklington

Started out doing the sampling for us a number of years ago and soon became an intricate part of the field team. Henry is adamant that England showed poor judgement and passed over him in favour of Chris Robshaw!


Tom Howsam

Tom has been with us a few years now driving a viner. He's a bit of a cheeky chappy and away from the field makes the most of YFC.


Adrian Parnham

Ady was our longest serving member of the team. Sadly he died in 2017. Having been an integral part of the business, he is sorely missed, but his wise words are remembered.


Lloyd Hladun

Joining us in 2014 for the first time Lloyd was our sampler. As with all jobs within the team, they fulfil a vital role. He was particularly diligent in his role and for 2015 has joined the field team.