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New farm shop opens in Suffolk town centre

PUBLISHED: 09:53 04 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:56 04 September 2020

Ben's Restaurant is now operating as a farm shop - and stocks some of Suffolk's freshest local produce Picture: Ben's Restaurant / Facebook

Ben's Restaurant is now operating as a farm shop - and stocks some of Suffolk's freshest local produce Picture: Ben's Restaurant / Facebook

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An award-winning restaurant has been transformed into a one-stop shop for local produce.

Homemade sausage rolls available from Ben's farm shop Picture: Ben's Restaurant / FacebookHomemade sausage rolls available from Ben's farm shop Picture: Ben's Restaurant / Facebook

A Bury St Edmunds restaurant, which has been unable to reopen due to social distancing restrictions, has decided to reinvent itself for the time being – and is currently operating as a local farm shop.

Ben’s Restaurant, which is run by Ben and Rebecca Hutton, has opened a small farm shop within its Churchgate Street premises and currently sells a wide range of locally-sourced goods and produce.

Explaining the reason behind the farm shop, Rebecca said: “The shape of Ben’s didn’t lend itself well to social distancing, as it is very long and narrow, and you have to walk past all the tables to access the toilets - so our covers were drastically reduced by distancing the tables and creating a walkway.

“We were also concerned as a large proportion of our customers fell into the high-risk group for Covid-19, and may not have been rushing back out once the lockdown was lifted. So to help us out until we are able to reopen, and also support all the small local businesses we use in the restaurant, we decided to open a farm shop. We sell of our own meat from our smallholding, our own vegetables from our kitchen allotment, alongside all of the other fantastic local producers we usually showcase on our menu.”

Ben's Restaurant, which is currently acting as a local farm shop Picture: Gregg BrownBen's Restaurant, which is currently acting as a local farm shop Picture: Gregg Brown

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With an ethos that strongly focuses on all things local, seasonal and fresh, Ben’s farm shop is able to offer customers a varied selection of produce and foodstuffs. This ranges from homemade baked goods such as pies, sausage rolls, scotch eggs, scones and cakes, to essentials such as local meats, frozen fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, jams, condiments, eggs, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and coffee.

Some of the local brands that Ben’s currently has in stock include Suffolk Honey, Stokes Sauces, Pakenham Windmill Flour and Oats, Fen Farm Dairy Cheese, The New England Boar Company and Suffolk Distillery Gins.

As Rebecca and Ben were able to successfully combine Ben’s Restaurant with their other eatery, Queens Bar & Grill, just a few doors down, the two are aiming to keep the farm shop open for the foreseeable future – with the hopes of expanding its range.

Locally picked berries from Assington Fruit Picture: Ben's Restaurant / FacebookLocally picked berries from Assington Fruit Picture: Ben's Restaurant / Facebook

“The farm shop has received lots of support and is going well so far,” added Rebecca.

“Fortunately, we were able to move the team from Ben’s down to Queens, and create a merged menu. This includes all of the local producers and customer favourites from Ben’s, alongside the smokehouse grill favourites that Queens Bar & Grill usually offers.”

Ben’s farm shop is open Saturdays between 9am and 3pm, and Sundays between 10am and 2pm.

To find out more, visit bensrestaurant.co.uk


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