Day 1: Celebrating 20 years of the Farm Shop!

2004-2024…..It’s been 20 years!  And it’s passed in a flash.  20 years of running this farming and farm retail business is surely something to be celebrated.  And this milestone has made us reflect on our journey… and why we set off on the adventure in the first place! We are first generation farmers, with Mark having had an interest in livestock since he was a very young boy, starting a small flock of Suffolk sheep at the age of 8.  As tenant farmers with a substantial rent to pay we tried lots of different diversifications over the years, from selling garden furniture and Christmas trees to having trout fishing ponds. Following the traumatic events of foot and mouth in 2001, and with time to think about our future path – the idea of farm retailing and selling our own home produced meat direct from the farm seemed like it might be a good idea.

Cart Shed 2

We wanted to add value to our livestock, showcasing the high quality produce. So we set off with Ian Nash and his mini digger in the Cart Shed and slowly but surely got the building ready for us to open a farm shop in May 2004, selling our Aberdeen Angus beef and Saddleback pork from the doorway and then later that summer our lamb. That’s basically what we are still doing 20 years later. At first we thought that ready meals such as lasagne would be a big seller, but we soon realised that what people were really interested in was buying from a proper butchery where they could be sure to find the cuts and quality they wanted…along with a bit of chat from the butchers.  TV chefs were new on the scene and inspiring us all to try their recipes.  There was a lot for us to learn, and thanks to the Hodgkiss family we made a good start.  Michael then joined us in October to share his many years of wisdom, and his secret recipe for black pudding!  At first we were only open one morning a week, and we gradually increased this over the next few years until by 2015 we were open every day of the week.  Our range expanded gradually too, this side of things took a big jump when Emma joined us in 2020 and led to our recent winning of small Farm Shop of the Year in 2023.

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing the story of our farm shop, with an array of celebratory giveaways… so keep your eyes peeled and we hope you enjoy finding out more about our shared adventure of Broom House Farm Shop 2004-2024.