Fertile Fibre how it all started and how it got to where it is today….
Fertile Fibre was the brainchild of Robert Hurst way back in 1989. Robert and Kim Hurst had been growing aromatic and scented foliage plants and herbs since 1976 as The Cottage Herbery, always organically & to medal winning standards.
At this time Robert was a hop farmer in Worcestershire and was able to use a by-product of this process, known as “hop waste”, to grow his plants. A tentative search of coconut importers was able to track down a supplier of what was, back then, a waste material. Robert, being one of the first to use coir, was able to explain the importance of low salt levels. It was at this time that Robert approached W L Dingleys for help in producing an organic nutrient and with Bob Ubenski assigned to the task it was not long until the right nutrient was identified and production was started. With the help of the late great Geoff Hamilton they were able to make, trial and analyse different recipes until they had the right combinations for production. Sales were slow as there was no marketing budget or sales material. It all started by word of mouth and the word soon spread. Robert was not only producing award winning plants in his own compost but also growing organically, which hadn’t been done before and to this day he claims to be the first. Both Fertile Fibre and The Cottage Herbery grew throughout the 90’s. The hops had long gone having been deemed too labour intensive. As sales of Fertile Fibre grew year on year, Rob and Kim found they were getting further away from their great love of growing plants and to allow them more time to devote to the nursery they saught a buyer for Fertile Fibre.
Matthew Dent bought the business in August 2004. Matthew was no stranger to the farm as he had been renting Robert’s hop yards for the previous ten years and had seen Fertile Fibre grow from the start. Robert was more than happy to pass the company on to a friend. Robert has stayed on at Fertile FIbre helping with enquiries and dealing with product trialling, which is still done with the Cottage Herbery. The company moved to new space in the winter of 2004 and regular machinery investment is continuing. Production capacity has been increased twice to meet demand with emphasis on quality and traceability.
Fertile Fibre is open to the public and a viewing can be organized with the Office.