Farm shop owners enjoy feast of ideas

MORE than 100 delegates were offered a feast of new ideas as they took part in the region’s first farm shop conference in Ipswich yesterday.

The two-day Tastes of Anglia event, with funding from LandSkills East, took farmshop owners from as far afield as Durham and Bedfordshire as well as Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, on a tour of some of the area’s big farm shop success stories - Hollow Trees Farm at Semer, Alder Carr Farm at Needham Market, Suffolk Food Hall near Ipswich, Friday Street Farm, near Saxmundham, and Jimmy’s Farm near Ipswich.

At the same time, Suffolk became the first county in the UK to set up a Farm Shop Charter. Fifteen of the county’s farm shops have already signed up to the scheme, aimed at assuring customers that they are buying quallity local produce, which was spearheaded by Suffolk Trading Standards.

Today delegates will gather at Belstead Brook Hotel for a conference day and workshop sessions.

Judy Randon, of Cassava Ltd, which is co-ordinating the event with Tastes of Anglia, said the reaction to the tour had been “brilliant”. It was an “extremely interesting and valuable day”, she said.

For full coverage of the farm shop conference, and the launch of the charter, including pictures, see the County Life section in Saturday’s EADT.