Farm shops have enjoyed phenomenal success in the last few years. The rise of both the organic and ecology movements have made us all think more carefully about where our food comes from and the processes it goes through before it reaches the supermarket shelves. Many farm shops sell produce grown on their own premises, which is very attractive to customers in terms of freshness, provenance and carbon footprint.
There are many award schemes which celebrate the success and quality of farm shops, so we thought it would be nice to highlight and celebrate some of this year’s national winners.
In the 2017 Farm Shop & Deli Awards, Keelham Farm Shop won the top prize. Set up by the Robertshaw family 40 years ago, it is now run by the third generation of family farmers and has become a large concern, employing 320 people locally and offering a variety of goods sourced from 400 Yorkshire suppliers. They have developed innovative ways of making fresh vegetables affordable and available, including a vegetable exchange scheme and running a minibus service to give those who are reliant on public transport a better chance to buy fruit and vegetables that’s a lot fresher than in the supermarkets.
Winner of the 2016 Newcomer of the Year by the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association, the White House Farm has been run by the Gurney family for 150 years. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that they set up a farm shop to complement their PYO operation, and built a new café in the old pig sty. This year they were also thrilled when their new butchery won the Norwich Food & Drink Festival’s Battle of the Bangers competition for its traditional pork sausages – sometimes the old ways are the best ways after all!
Winner of the 2016 Future Food category in the BBC Food and Farming Awards, Our Cow Molly farm shop sells its own fresh milk and ice cream. In 2007, the slump in milk prices forced the dairy farming Andrew family to try a different tack, so they began making their own ice cream using fresh milk and cream from their 80 cows. They now make over 30 flavours of ice cream, all of which are available from their farm shop. They also sell their ice cream and fresh milk through many local stockists.
Winner of the 2016 British Farming Awards Family Farming Business of the Year, the family-run Newton Farm Foods produces its own beef, pork and lamb to sell in its shop and café, and it also supplies meat to schools, pubs, restaurants and B&Bs in the Bath area. The Farm farm shop also sells other locally produced meats, as well as other products including milk, eggs, honey, bread, chocolate, pies and ready meals, as well as cider and wine.
Winner of the Rural Enterprise Award at the 2016 Food & Farming Industry Awards, Bucklebury Farm Park has a small farm shop selling pork, wild boar, venison, as well as their own honey, and locally made breads and jams. Until 1992, it was purely a working farm, but then it diversified, adding a farm park specialising in four breeds of deer and a rare breed of Berkshire pigs, as well as many other animals including goats, cattle, ponies, donkeys and even reindeer. The park isn’t just a playground for children, it also helps everyone learn more about the countryside and where food comes from, running school trips, group visits and guided walks.
Congratulations to these and all the lovely farm shops throughout the UK who are winners of local, regional and national awards.