Having grown up on the family farm, Farmer Soph is the 4th working generation at Anglewood, 7th for the district, and the 2nd for the Buckland farm Littleworth.
She knew it was in her blood when she went on a holiday to the UK for 6th months and ended up working at both a hop picking and pheasant shooting farm in England. Upon her return, she entered into the world of hospitality, gaining a passion for local produce and sharing her knowledge with customers. During this time she started studying at UTAS, followed by a more hands-on approach to learning at Lincoln University in NZ.
Upon her return, she continued to work on the family properties as well as in hospitality, helping friends start up Tassie’s first healthy take away franchise - Liveat. Sophie also joined the Coal River Products Association, embedding herself in the organisation, and cementing her passion for the area, it’s produce and bringing the customer along the journey.
Determined to prove to her parents that she was capable of farm work, everytime a position became available, she made sure she was first on the scene. And with hard work and dedication, Sophie has now been working across, and joint managing with her parents, all the family properties full time for over 12 years.
Littlewood is a combination of both the family farms, Littleworth in Buckland and Anglewood in the Coal Valley. What started out as an idea to utelise the land along the heavily visited tourist route between Hobart and Richmond, with a pick your own strawberry patch, quickly turned into the thriving business you see there today.
The land, a small paddock at the entrance to the Anglewood homestead, was an awkward size and shape, which made using it more trouble than it was worth. So after a few years of talking about it, Sophie decided to art and start what was then known only as Littlewood Strawberries.
This will be the berry farm’s 10th year, and we continue to learn and improve wherever we can. We have tried over 23 different varieties over the years, constantly searching for the perfect berries for our climate and location, and recently we settled on the perfect varieties.
When the Littlewood Farm opened, the goal was always to support locals first and tourists second and thanks to this, when covid hit the farm continued to thrive.
Over the years, Littlewood Strawberries, is now known as Littlewood Berry Farm, and has grown to include other products, such as ice cream, gin, coffee and local produce, as well as other experiences, with our education and school groups becoming incredibly popular. We pride ourselves in offering local products and knowledge and making these as accessible as possible.
Anglewood, Coal Valley
Situated in the heart of the Coal Valley, our Richmond farm, Anglewood, has been run for over 4 generations by the Nichols family.
It is largely used as a crop farm, as we are connected to the South Eastern Irrigation Scheme. The 12,500 ML Craigbourne Dam, north of the Coal Valley is used to supply water to horticultural, viticultural, orchard and other high value uses in the Coal River District. Before this scheme was introduced, the area was known as the ‘Dust Bowl of the South’.
With just over 750 acres, Anglewood currently crops cereals, brassica seeds, forage crops and lucerne and grass for hay, as well as runs Sophie, and her husband, Dan’s Southdown Lamb business.
Over the last 50 years, and with trying over 32 different crops, there have been dramatic changes to farming practises, the weather patterns and of course, the market. It meant that the farm has constantly needed to diversify further and it wasn’t until Sophie’s father Justin Nichols, on a trip to England and having seen the success of pick your own berry farms along tourist drives, that the idea of a Strawberry Farm was considered. Along with the berry farm, the crops they currently harvest have proven to be the most sustainable.
Littleworth, our 1750 acre farm in Buckland, is our dryland farm, which means the property is managed without the aid of irrigation. The farm relies purely on mother nature, and we run 1000 merino ewes and 500 merino ewe lambs over the property. These sheep are our self-replacing flock, which means we breed and keep our own stock. From time to time we bring in merino rams from other farms around the state and breed them with our ewes. All the ewe lambs are then kept, and the wether (castrated) lambs are sold off.
All our culls (older sheep or sheep with not very nice wool or other undesirable characteristics) are moved to our Angelwood farm in Richmond where we currently have 800 ewes.
It is this flock at Richmond that we put the Littlewood Southdown rams over, which we use to breed rams to sell other farmers as well as for our stock for the Littlewood Lamb business.
Running the farms this way means we know the full life cycle and story of all our sheep and can carefully control the quality of the stock and our product.