Within the next year Sam and I are planning to expand the Farm Shop – moving into a custom built Sussex Barn, using wood from the Stansted Estate. It will run alongside the car park with one main entrance to connect the Garden Centre and the Farm Shop.
Our new shop will have twice as much retail space as well as a extensive butchery and deli counter. Behind the butchery will be a cold store and preparation room so that you can get the full range of locally reared meat and game at least 6 days a week. We expect to have a wet fish counter, full cheese counter and a lovely array of fruit and veg.
Under the same roof will be a wood fired pizza oven and kitchen with some tables so that we can feed families no matter what the weather. The East side of the farm shop will be glass-fronted, letting in light and offering full access into the courtyard so that you can sit in the sun enjoying pizza and BBQ.
Our existing farm shop building will be turned into a cookery school where you can learn to prepare and cook using local, seasonal ingredients. From butchery courses, to smoking brisket and fish, hedgerow foraging to bread making – we will have guest chefs offering hands on courses, demonstrations and tastings.
The farm shop expansion and cookery school will be adaptable so that we can create space in the evenings for events and parties. We will improve our existing catering as we take our pizzas and BBQ on the road – to your house, or to local fairs and festivals (as we do at the moment, but better).
We have had a great three years with a mighty learning curve and now feel that we need to offer our customers as wide a range of products as possible while connecting you with the farmers, producers and fishermen of the South Downs and coast. As you well know, much of the food consumed in the UK is becoming increasingly processed, with enormous supply chains, absurd amounts of packaging and dubious health claims. We feel it is more important than ever that we stock local food with known provenance and high welfare standards. We want to offer the opportunity to learn, taste and buy the wonderful food and drink produced on our doorstep.
Farm Shop turnover last year grew 40%, doubling from year one to year three and we expect a high level of growth with the new premises. We are looking to fund this new venture through loans, grants and crowd-funding – as we need to raise about £150,000. We are already part way there, but are looking for investors who might be interested in supporting this venture. We are considering different funding options, but you could invest through crowd-funding for as little as £10 and be part of this exciting adventure. The Stansted Park Foundation are building the barn, but we need to fit out the shop, butchery, kitchen and cookery school, along with staff and stock.