Depden: Ex-GO-East director launches farm shop

A FORMER Government boss has teamed up with his partner to launch a farm shop and cafe on their smallholding, which officially opened yesterday.

Up until last year, Tim Freahy and partner Mark Leadbeater were running six acre Rookery Farm at Depden, near Bury St Edmunds, as “a bit of a hobby”.

But when Tim faced redundancy from his directorial post at the Government Office for the East of England, they decided to try and make the smallholding into a business.

“This was the moment to see if I could make the smallholding work as a sustainable business,” said Tim.

“I was becoming more and more concerned about how much of our food was grown and produced commercially, with profit margins driving the bottom line instead of quality, taste and animal welfare.”

The farm shop, cafe and smallholder training centre was given a soft launch and is already attracting up to 40 customers a day.

The official opening took place yesterday.

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Housed in a newly-restored stable block, it stocks produce grown on the smallholding, together with meats and delicacies from Depden and carefully selected local producers. It also sells homemade cakes, artisan bread, filled rolls and lunches.

“Now we are sharing our experience through the provision of training for the Eastern region,” said Tim.

“Our first smallholding and sustainable living skills courses were really popular, drawing people from London as well as East Anglia.”