JOHN STANLEY'S NEW VISION FARM RETAIL FORUM
Wednesday 5 June and Thursday 6 June 2013
Bodnant Welsh Food, Tal y Cafn, Colwyn Bay
John Stanley is offering UK farm retailers a great opportunity to explore and develop their own retailing and the direction of the sector in these two, fantastic value days in the lovely surroundings of Bodnant Welsh Food in North Wales.
If you got John to your farm shop to do something similar you'd pay many times more for his time - and you wouldn't get the benefit of networking with other like-minded, forward-thinking businesses in facilitated workshops. These kind of events are frequent in mainstream food businesses and help to keep them ahead of trends.
There is still time to book! Just call 0845 45 88 420.
As an example of what you'll get from the two days, John says:
'Culinary Tourism is being promoted as the 'next big thing - and FARMA members are ideally positioned to take advantage of this trend. We will explore this as one of the topics in the upcoming New Vision Forum on 5 & 6 June at Bodnant Welsh Food.
'The aim of the Forum is to develop new, practical ideas to grow your farm retail business in the exciting world of opportunities. Take home points will be based on each segment of the forum and each delegate will develop at least three MUST DO points per session on:
- Developing the retail results you want in the next 12 months
- Improving the key retail touch-points that customers are concerned with
- On-demand marketing as a key strategy for your business
- How to enable the team to meet the goals you set
- Plus other development points that come from the sessions, including new ways of merchandising and display, including lessons from Eason's in Ireland, who are world-leaders in the new thinking process.
Delegates from previous New Vision Forums recommend that two decision makers come from your business, as you will develop a new mind-set on where you want to take your business.
I look forward to seeing you in Wales.'
Tickets are £395 plus VAT per person; accommodation additional, recommended is the Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy Quay, about six miles away.
More details available here
The prestigious FARMA Local Food Awards 2014 are now open for entries.
For more than ten years these Awards have recognised the best in UK Farm Retail; from farm shops to farmers’ markets, pick-your-owns to farm parks. They are highly regarded in the industry, as they are judged by peers and experts who consider not only the customer experience, but the retail skills, management, and passion for local foods, farming and the environment which shape our businesses. The FARMA Awards raise the profile of finalists, winners, and the sector as a whole, in the eyes of both the media and valued customers.
Think your farm retail business deserves the attention of the nation?
Download your entry form here - for Farm Shops, Butchery, Restaurant, Environmental.
The FARMA Awards are only open to FARMA members. Not yet a member? Find out more here, or give us a call on 0845 45 88 420.
"The FARMA Local Food Awards are a fantastic marketing & PR tool. Winning The Farm Retailer of the Year Award really boosted our staff morale, customers loved it, we gained lots of press coverage and we still use the award logo on all press and advertising, including TV adverts. Participating in the awards also makes you look at your business through the eyes of an outsider - a very useful process which helps question what and why, something we often don’t do enough, and can bring fresh insight and inspiration into what you do."
Heather Copley, Farmer Copleys, Pontefract, West Yorkshire
"To win a FARMA Local Food Award is the highest accolade a Farm Retailer can achieve. A very detailed judging process by your peers over a period of several months ensures that winners really are the "Best in Class" - and the media are quickly realising this. To be chosen as a winner or even as a finalist is a great morale booster for the staff team and your loyal customers."
Andy Jeffery, Farrington's Farm Shop, Farrington Gurney, nr Bristol
Monday 17 June
Cross Lanes Organic Farm is a vision of farm retail in the future where the ethos of the business is quite literally built around renewables, recycling and reusing to reduce energy and water use for both environmental reasons and economy. It is a model of sustainablity. If you are just opening a farm shop or have plans to do so, you’ll see a range of ideas that can be incorporated into a new-build or conversion. If you are a more established business you will see ideas here that can be added to improve your environmenal footprint and save money.
Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop is the realisation of a long-held ambition of Peter and Sue Coverdale, who bought the 11 acres at Cross Lanes Farm at Barnard Castle, Co Durham in 2002. For a while they ran the existing egg production business that was there while applying for planning permission to build a new - and very different - farm shop on the site. Peter and Sue also run a building firm, specialising in stonemasonry and restoration so the project was a perfect fit with that business.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE:
• A living roof, planted with sedum on the north side and turf meadow on the south side which includes many wild flowers. A small flock of Hebridean sheep, on loan from a local farm, graze the roof as ‘living lawnmowers’ to keep the roof line tidy. They love their new home including their night quarters, a stone-built sheep-pen, the poshest in the region if not in the country, complete with a ramp for roof access.
• Solar panels to provide hot water and a light, bright conservatory dining area
• Building with strawbales, redressed local waste sandstone, lime-based mortar
• Rainwater harvesting and water re-use
• Reed bed filtration, composting loo with heather thatch
• Greenhouse to the rear of the farm shop with permaculture heating system
• Brick built wood-fired pizza oven in the farm shop
There are plans to extend the range of environmental and money-saving elements in the build, including a windmill. The farm is Certified organic, producing fruit, vegetables and herbs, with organic beef, pork and lamb available from this year.
Ticket price £55 pp plus VAT. Double ticket for £100 plus VAT - use for two people to attend this event, or to attend the visit to Knitsley Farm Shop & Broom House Farm on 18 June. Please call 0845 45 88 420 to book. Need accommodation? Just ask for details.
Garsons Farm, Esher
Wednesday 29 May
‘We have made many changes at Garsons over the past few years, and we warmly invite you to see what we’ve done.’ Peter Thompson, Garsons Chairman
Garson Farm lies in the flood plain of the River Mole, about 15 miles south of central London. Five generations have farmed there, going from market garden growers for London’s wholesale markets to direct sales in 1979, when the farm shop in its present building opened, followed in 1981 with the opening of the PYO fields. The day at Garsons is complemented by a presentation from Grays Farm, Wokingham, joint winners with Garsons of the FARMA PYO of the Year 2013.
Like many of the longer-established farm retail outlets, Garsons grew its direct sales from a small, seasonal shop at the farm gate. Today, the farm entrance opens into a very large car park, dotted with trees and other planting, framed by a large farm shop in a converted packhouse to your right, an even larger, mainly glass garden centre - which contains the site’s restaurant - and pool shop. The PYO fields start alongside.
Customers can reach all of the 100 acres or so of pick-your-own crops by car, on decent roads that intersect the farm, meeting Rule No 1 of PYO: customers don’t want to walk too far to get their harvest. With customers so dispersed, Rule No 2 comes into play: ensure that customers don’t leave without paying for what they have picked. Garsons achieves this with mobile weigh & pay sheds, six of them, that can be moved into picking areas and which are fully equipped with card-payment systems and epos. Garsons always places one unit at the exit to the PYO fields where every customer has their receipt checked - one rule for all.
Garsons has no plans to introduce a refundable deposit on entry though. New this year, 0.5ha of fruit has been put under cover. It was planned to kickstart the season with earlier strawberries but the wet winter put paid to that. Instead the tunnels will provide fruit without rain damage throughout the season for PYO and when picked for the farm shop.
With the diminishing range of solutions for weed and pest control the farm is increasingly resorting to hand-weeding to keep the PYO tidy (Rule No 3 for an excellent PYO). Farm manager, Steve Gallimore also favours biological methods such as growing Phacelia near sweetcorn and natural predators in raspberries and runner beans. Rule No 4 for great PYO is providing information to customers, and Garsons has plenty of leaflets and signs.
Garsons grows 40 different crops of vegetables - basics like potatoes as well as ‘exotics’ like kohl rabi - soft, stone and top fruit, and flowers and says that it is the sheer variety that keeps customers coming through a long season. A new apple orchard has been planted with Discovery, Sunrise, Scrumptious, Falstaff and Hereford Russett varieties.
Cherries are precious, representing 20% of the total value of PYO sales and not surprisingly customers are supervised to ensure that eating-while-you-pick is kept to a minimum. A simple, stamped loyalty card is having its last season this year, to be replaced by a proper, epos-friendly card that will offer a discount in all parts of the business. PYO has required investment, good management and marketing and in this it is by no means a poor relation to the farm shop.
GRAYS OF WOKINGHAM is a more traditional family-run PYO which impressed the FARMA Awards judges with its passion for growing excellent crops. It is a seasonally open PYO farm, dedicated to the task since 1973. The range of crops is impressive, from rhubarb in May to sprouts in September. The site is very customer-friendly, not just in the weigh-and-pay area but over the whole PYO with signposts, maps and readily available forks for lifting, and with bags and punnets in all the picking areas.
Ticket price £50 pp + VAT. Book two tickets for £95 + VAT.
Tuesday 18 June
Two visits for the price of one! The proximity of these two business allows us to visit both in one day - excellent value for both time and money.
Knitsley Farm Shop (Own & Local Award winner) is a charming conversion of traditional stone buildings on a small, family-run farm just outside Consett, County Durham. It is owned and driven by Edward and Rachael Jewson, a young husband and wife team, and the imperative to make as much as possible on-site. What needs to be bought-in is sourced as locally as possible, supporting artisan and start up businesses.
The Farm Shop opened in 2008, with the aim of creating a more profitable outlet for the farm’s own produced meat. There’s also a cafe whose reputation for excellent, freshly cooked food has cemented their reputation.
WHAT YOU WILL SEE AND LEARN:
• Pushing own-production as a business plan
• Developing team-work and creativity
• The butchery counter showing superb skills in presenting added-value products.
• Reducing waste: making brawn, corned beef, stock and pie-jelly from bones, chorizo, pastrami and more.
• Optimising kitchens and layout, using every inch of space, separating production areas
• Scratch bakery, installed in 2012 in a loft (presenting many challenges). Skilled baker Kevin Fullen, creates the most amazing array of breads each morning.
• Building a reputation for distinctive foods and maintaining a very high standard.
We will have lunch at Broom House Farm (Farm Destination of the Year), a few miles from Durham city, where the story begins and ends with the 1,500 acres organic farm tenanted by Mark and Jane Gray. The farm produces Aberdeen Angus beef, lamb and mutton, as well as pork and eggs on a small scale, and is in Higher Level Stewardship. There is a farm shop, open seven days, which has a huge reputation and a loyal following for its meat, and a cafe with an outdoor seating area overlooking play and woodland-based adventure facilities, mostly constructed by Mark.
Jane began offering educational visits ten years ago, is CEVAS accredited and now hosts over 200 visits a year. The income helps, of course, but above all else, she is passionate about communication, showing children where food comes from on a real working farm and a living environment in which there is so much more to see if you are guided about where to look.
WHAT YOU WILL SEE AND LEARN:
• Handling educational visits, linking with the curriculum for different age groups
• Creating the visits and hands-on with an educational visit - what facilities do you need?
• Offering a ticketed attraction for family days out based on woodland & environment
• Promotion, marketing - e.g. Monday morning’s Little Farmer’s Club
• Farm retail in an off-the-beaten-track location, six miles from Durham city but a whole world away from city life - how the farm shop, cafe and play areas link and work together to sustain each part of the business.
TICKETS are £55 per person + VAT or £100 + VAT for a double ticket which you can use to attend the previous day at Cross Lanes Farm Shop (17 June), or for two people to attend this event.