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Farm shop supports farm business growth

Winners of the British Farming Awards Diversification Innovator 2018

The old lambing shed at Mosley Hall farm now plays home to a state-of-the-art farm shop and café with an in-house deli and butchers.

The desire to diversify to help supplement the farm business, providing an additional income as well as more jobs for family members, has seen the creation of a food retail outlet space that has gone from strength to strength over the last three years.

“Our family have farmed Mosley Hall for generation and we are hugely proud of the traceability and authenticity of our meat,” says Kathryn Mitchell, founder of The Lambing Shed Farm Shop and Café.

“As farmers by trade we know what it takes to create the perfect flavour in our meat,” she adds.

It’s this understanding that has allowed the family to build a business that works in conjunction with the farm and local businesses.

“All the beef and lamb sold through the shop and used in the café comes from our farm and we stock produce from over 60 local suppliers. It’s their unique products alongside our homebred produce that sets us apart from other farm shops.”

Kathryn explains that since starting the farm shop the family have been able to increase the beef and sheep numbers as they now have a guaranteed market and can request a premium price for the home-bred animals from the on-site butchery.

However, she explains that it’s not all been a smooth ride. “In the early stages, the farm business subsidised the diversification which caused some inevitable cash flow issues. However, with the farm shop now turning over a profit this is almost all paid off.

“Our biggest challenge now will be keeping pace with changing consumer trends,” explains Kathryn.

Trends affecting business

The business is all too aware that customer buying habits are changing. “Customers want great food that’s traceable but with the convenience they experience at the supermarket and we have to meet this need.

“We already provide meal kits, and pair products together on our shelves to help with the convenience factor and we are looking into online sales and home delivery to support this.

“We can also see an upward trend in consumers eating out, and for this, it’s likely that we will need to further expand our café in the future, but for now, implementing a new table layout and design will help maximise the available space.”

Kathryn explains that the older generation is also a growing demographic that provides opportunities for the business. “This group of people have more disposable income and time and therefore we are looking at ways we can allow people to stay on-site for longer.

“Creating other retail spaces to lease out to the likes of florists and hairdressers is something we are currently considering so people can make even more of their visit.

“We need to remain reactive over the next five years to any changes and be able to act quickly to ensure we still give the customer what they want at a competitive price, alongside putting resource into factors that set us apart from other food retailers,” says Kathryn.

“The past three years have been a brilliant journey for us all and we want to keep building on this.”

 

About The Author

Kathryn Mitchell

The Lambing Shed Farm Shop and Cafe 

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