On Halls Farm in the heart of rural Suffolk, Robert & Valerie Honeywood were 7th generation farmers looking for a new way to diversify as the farm was no longer a sustainable income, here’s the history of Honeychop.

Honeychop old family pictureOne day in 1986 their daughter, Elizabeth, brought home her first pony, Liquorice, and along with her a bag of chaff, which then sparked an idea. Having examined the chaff, it appeared to be nothing more than poor quality straw mixed with molasses and Robert knew he could produce a superior product; so that is exactly what the Honeywoods decided to do.

Robert carried out research and spoke to horse owners and nutritionists and began to formulate the first Honeychop products. From his research he found that oat straw is the best straw for horses and ponies; however it is also the most expensive of all the cereal straws. Despite this Robert decided that oat straw must form the basis of all the products he was to produce; he wanted his product to be the best on the market.

He immediately increased the amount of oat straw that was grown on the farm.

Honeychop old logoMeanwhile, Valerie was busy coming up with a name and designing the logo. Being a family business, Val wanted to come up with a name that was close to home and meant something so she used the prefix of “Honey” (from the family surname) along with the word “chop” which is another common term meaning chaff, which gave her Honeychop.

Although you will not recognise it as today’s logo, here is Val’s original sketch of the very first ever Honeychop logo that she hand drew.

Now, all these years later, Honeychop is still very much a family run company with Robert’s son, Stephen, taking over the reins (excuse the pun) in 1995 when he finished university.

Stephen has taken the company from strength to strength with production increasing year on year. Being a qualified engineer, Stephen brought a wealth of knowledge to the company, installing a state of the art packaging machine to streamline the production and packaging process. He has also enrolled the farm into the Fair To Nature Conservation Grade Scheme, which means we help to preserve the wildlife and help the environment.

When Stephen took over, Halls Farm alone was no longer able to produce enough oat straw to keep up with Honeychop demand, so he sourced other local Fair To Nature Conservation Grade farmers enabling us to maintain the high standards our customers were used to. To read more about our oat straw and our farmers click here

It looks set to continue along the family line with Stephen’s children already taking an interest in the family business. You will often find them packing Honeychop samples, or out in the fields with their dad.

Here at Honeychop we have a family of employees. Head over to “Our People” page to read more about our extended family.