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Norwich farm shop shows how shopping locally helps a whole range of local businesses

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 October 2011

Nigel Carter, front centre, manager of the City Farm Shop at Notcutts, with some of his local produce suppliers, from left, Richard Tacon, Chris Coughlan, Tony Alden, Keith Charlish, Robin Baines, Peter Ewin, and Graham Negus. Picture: Denise Bradley

Nigel Carter, front centre, manager of the City Farm Shop at Notcutts, with some of his local produce suppliers, from left, Richard Tacon, Chris Coughlan, Tony Alden, Keith Charlish, Robin Baines, Peter Ewin, and Graham Negus. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant copyright 2011

By shopping locally we are often helping many more Norfolk-based businesses than we realise – as the Evening News’ visit to one of Norwich’s farm shop shows.

Research suggests one pound spent with a local business stays in the local economy for five more transactions, whereas a pound spent with a national business operating locally stays in the local economy for just two transactions.

And our trip to City Farm Shop – the latest store to back our Love Local campaign – helps to illustrate just why this is so often the case.

Nigel Carter, who has owned the Daniels Road shop for the past two years, sells the products of more than 30 local farms and businesses and the store stocks everything from meats to vegetables to cakes to ice-creams.

The shop identifies where everything comes from, so shoppers can see just how local many of the products are.

By shopping at City Farm Shop people are not only helping the store to thrive, they are also helping to ensure local suppliers have a great outlet to display and sell their food.

In return Mr Carter said customers are able to benefit from the freshest of produce at good prices, have a great variety to choose from and good customer service.

Mr Carter said: “Where products are in season and we can source them from our local suppliers we do. Our suppliers support us and we support our suppliers. We are all in the same boat – we are all trying to make a living.

“People should shop locally because, I believe, there is value for money and everything is very fresh.

“Vegetables, for example, are pulled from the ground, put into the crates and straight into the shop for customers to buy.

“There is no in between person. It is from the farm to us.

“We are all supporting each other in these tough times.”

Some of City Farm Shop’s local suppliers:

Robin Baines is one of the contract managers for White House Farm in Blue Boar Lane, Sprowston, along with Robert Russell, and the farm supplies fruit to City Farm Shop. The farm grows a whole range of different fruits including plums, pears, apples and blackberries.

“The farm has been there for about 30 years and people can also come and pick their own fruit there. We also grow vegetables as well,” Mr Baines said. “You will never have fruit or vegetables as fresh as you will from a farm shop or a pick your own farm. People should shop locally because it is cheaper, it is local and it is supporting a number of other local businesses rather than businesses outside the region.

“It means you can help to retain some of the fabric of Norfolk rural life and it gives the consumer the opportunity to identify with where their food has come from – they can see it growing in the field. City Farm Shop is like a local food hub. Nigel is bringing the farm to the city.”

Richard Tacon and his son Charlie grow everything from asparagus and strawberries to onions and potatoes at The Grange in Rollesby, near Great Yarmouth.

Among the produce they are currently supplying to City Farm Shop are pumpkins, potatoes, onions and cauliflowers.

Richard Tacon said: “Farm shops are absolutely great. We pick the stuff in the morning at about 5am or 6am and they get to the farm shop by lunchtime. No supermarket can compete with that, and I think people appreciate that. It is often cheaper and the main thing is it’s better for you – there is nothing like fresh vegetables, they just taste so much better.”

Shropham-based Breckland Organics is run by Graham Negus and his son Chris.

They have been farming organic vegetables for about three years and supply City Farm Shop with a wide range of things including carrots, parsnips, broccoli, leaks, onions, cabbages and squashes. When asked why people should shop locally, Graham Negus said: “Because the food is so fresh and that really enhances the taste. It also helps to keep the money in the local economy and that is a very important point.”

Peter Ewin runs Wayland Free Range Eggs, based at Great Ellingham, near Attleborough.

He said: “On our farm we have got 12,000 chickens. The eggs could have been laid yesterday and be in the shop today so they are much fresher than supermarket eggs and there are less food miles involved.

“Shopping locally is better for people and it just helps the local economy. It also means cutting out the middle man so often customers get a better price.

“Farm shops are very important to us because without them we would have to find another outlet and it probably would not give us the return we can get with the farm shops.”

Lakenham Creamery has been making ice-cream in the city for 90 years.

Chris Coughlan, Lakenham Creamery’s managing director, said: “We make a range of ice creams using local milk and cream and follow very traditional processes.

“We have our Aldous range made with full cream fresh milk, and our Norfolk County range which is made with fresh cream, sugar, and eggs, and we also have a diabetic range.”

Speaking of the importance of support from local shoppers, he said: “I think it is very important that local business is supported by local people because it keeps jobs in the area, and obviously you have a better idea about where your food is coming from. If people go to another part of the country they always want to find out what is good locally, so if you are in Norfolk it is nice to buy Norfolk products.

“We are very proud to supply local farm shops and delis.”

Bunwell Wood Game, near Attleborough, has been running for about four years and supplies City Farm Shop with pheasants, partridges and venison.

Sales manager Tony Alden said: “We have found that people like to know where their food comes from and the game that we sell is always from our own shoots. Everything that we sell comes from Bunwell Wood which is just 18 miles from Norwich.”

The Paddocks Butchery and Deli is run by Keith Charlish and has a shop in Mulbarton and Bunwell.

It supplies City Farm Shop with beef, pork, lamb, poultry, sausages and other meat products.

Mr Charlish said: “I think people knowing where their food comes from is really important, knowing that in my case the animals are well cared for and not suffering stress, and also that we are supporting local farms.

“All of our beef and poultry is from Norfolk and our pork is from Blythburgh, just over the border into Suffolk.

“Farm shops are very important because they show people lots of the local products available.”

We want to encourage as many people as possible to Love Local and support the people and businesses that help to make our fine city great.

As well as giving our campaign a high profile in the Evening News every week, we will also be spreading the word with specially-made window stickers and carrier bags carrying the Love Local message.

If you would like some of these for your business – and to find out about other ways to get involved in Love Local – please call Emily Watt on 01603 693853 or email emily.watt@archant.co.uk

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