In the early years the farm produced a very wide range of products which they delivered all over the country. Apple growing was always their main activity and over 20 different varieties of apples are still produced today in their orchards surrounding the golf courses and beyond. Other enterprises included dairy farming and cheese production, sheep, pig and turkey rearing, and the growing of organic vegetables and wheat - even stone-ground organic flour was produced on site with their own stone mill. Top London hotels, luxury department store food halls and health food shops were among their regular early customers. Bill and Devora were founder members of the Soil Association and together with Lady Eve Balfour they even set up a school for Organic Husbandry on their farm in the early 1950s - they were way ahead of their time.
In 1969, after Britain joined the EEC and the import tariffs on apples were lifted, the Peakes decided that to survive as fruit growers they would diversify into fruit juice production, and Copella farm-pressed English apple juice was born - in the farmhouse kitchen! The name was derived from a combination of Cox's Orange Pippin, the main apple variety used, and the name of the youngest Peake daughter, Carmella.
A year or so after launching Copella Bill and Devora decided that, as there was a shortage of golf courses in East Anglia, they would convert 300 acres of their undulating arable land into two 18 hole championship courses, and with the help of a well respected golf architect, were the first farmers in the UK to diversify into golf. The clubhouse was designed by local architects Stanley Bragg and built using direct labour from the farm – and it won a Times Architectural award.
The Peake family business was brought into the spotlight by Sir John Harvey-Jones in three of his BBC Documentary Series "Troubleshooter" in 1989. 1992 and 1999, and he formally opened the new Hotel, Conference Centre and Spa in his last programme. He advised the family directors about their various enterprises including "Copella" Apple Juice, (sold to Tropicana UK Ltd. in late 1997) Stoke by Nayland Golf Club, Boxford Suffolk Farms and "Peake Fruit", their fruit storage, packing and marketing company. During that period Devora was Managing Director (Bill had died in 1979), her daughter Susanna Rendall was Group Finance Director, Roger Rendall was Production Director, daughter Tamara Unwin was Copella Sales Director, her husband Stephen Unwin was Copella Marketing Director and Devora’s son Jonathan ran the Golf Club business.
In June 1991 Devora Peake was made an “Associate of Royal Agricultural Societies” and then in 1996, in recognition of her lifetime's work, Devora was awarded an MBE for Services to the Fruit and Fruit Juice Industries.
Bill Peake died in 1979 and Devora in 1999, but the next generation, who have been working in the family business for a number of years, are now running the Group and its subsidiaries.
Susanna Rendall is the Group Managing Director. Her sister Tamara Unwin is Marketing/PR director, her sister Carmella Meyer is a director at Peake Fruit and Susanna's son Robert is Managing Director of Peake Fruit. Her brother Jonathan is also on the Group Board, and President of the Golf Club.
Family directors Carmella Meyer, Robert Rendall, Tamara Unwin, Jonathan Loshak and Susanna Rendall