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Darsham: Families enjoy the fun at Darsham Hamper’s Grand Easter opening

16:50 17 April 2014

Official opening of the new East of England

Official opening of the new East of England's Co-operatives Sourced Locally flagship store, the Darsham Hamper and Cafe .

Sarah Lucy brown

A “bold new venture” in retailing has been launched near Yoxford.

Darsham Hamper Grand Easter Opening. Zoe and Cameron Berry make Easter cakes at the Darsham HamperDarsham Hamper Grand Easter Opening. Zoe and Cameron Berry make Easter cakes at the Darsham Hamper

The East of England Coop’s new flagship farm-shop style store, Darsham Hamper and Café, held its grand opening today.

The morning of celebrations saw live music from the East of England Co-op brass band, an appearance from the Easter bunny, Easter cooking fun for children, competitions and prize draws and local food tastings.

The store, based on a former Little Chef restaurant site on the A12, is a showcase for the East of England Co’op’s the Sourced Locally brand, with 80% of products supplied directly from farmers, growers and producers in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk.

Local suppliers who feature in the store include Havensfield Eggs, based in Hoxne, Marybelle milk, cream, ice cream and yoghurt direct to store from premises at Rendham, and Brundish-based Lane Farm, winners of the East of England Co-op’s Producer of the Year Award, which is supplying bacon, sausages, ham, chorizo and Suffolk salami, Pinneys smoked fish from Orford, and wines, spirits and beers from Shawsgate Vineyard, Framlingham, and Southwold-based Adnams.

Darsham Hamper Grand Easter Opening. Sally Chicken, Director, Matthew Taylor RNLI, Phil Hartwell Director, Chris Crocker RNLI and Adam Herbert store manager at Darsham HamperDarsham Hamper Grand Easter Opening. Sally Chicken, Director, Matthew Taylor RNLI, Phil Hartwell Director, Chris Crocker RNLI and Adam Herbert store manager at Darsham Hamper

Coffeelink, one of the Co-op’s Sourced Locally suppliers which operate espresso bars across the region, runs the cafe, with meals prepared on site using locally sourced ingredients.

Store manager Adam Herbert said: “I’m really excited to be at the helm of the Darsham Hamper. Over the years I’ve got to know so many of our local suppliers and been able to visit their premises and learn more about their products – it’s going to be a real privilege to showcase to our customers some of the best food and drink that the region has to offer.”

Retail figures from the East of England Co-op show that its Sourced Locally range has grown in just six years from a few suppliers to 136 bringing around 2,400 local products into stores. It has ploughed £25million back into the regional economy, and created more than 100 local jobs, it says.

Group general manager Roger Grosvenor said: “It was great to welcome so many local people and visitors to Suffolk to the Darsham Hamper today. This is a bold new venture for us which clearly demonstrates our commitment to supporting local growers and producers. With its excellent location and opportunities for rest and refreshments, we anticipate the Darsham Hamper will become a popular destination both for local residents and those visiting the county from further afield.”

Darsham Hamper Grand Easter Opening.
 Shoppers browse the Sourced Locally produce at Darsham Hamper on opening dayDarsham Hamper Grand Easter Opening. Shoppers browse the Sourced Locally produce at Darsham Hamper on opening day

The store features 30 parking places, including two disabled bays, outdoor play area, outdoor seating and cycle racks and free wi-fi.

Ian Milne, managing director of Ipswich Town FC,  and Ian Surtees, managing director of  Vertas Group.

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Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore

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The new Greene King beer café, which stands alongside the company's Bury St Edmunds brewery.

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