UK’s Best Farm Shop – Blacker Hall Farm Shop – Farm Retailer of the Year 2014

UK-Farm-Retailer-of-the-year-2014- UKs-best-Farm-Shop

Officially the UK’s Best Farm Shop!

Blacker Hall Farm Shop is delighted to be honoured with the top accolade of Farm Retailer of the Year at this year’s national FARMA Local Food Awards.

Edward and Cheryl Garthwaite run the family Farm Shop in Wakefield West Yorkshire which now employs 130 people in production, administration and customer service roles. The Garthwaite family have been farming at Calder Grove, Wakefield for five generations and the family farm is run by Edward’s father, John, and his sister, Mary. The Farm Shop was founded in 1999 when Edward returned from Newcastle University with the aim of achieving his Dad’s dream of selling their home-reared meat direct to the end customer.  John was sure that they were producing great quality meat with the consumer in mind and the family could further improve the end product by employing expert butchers to complete a crucial production chain.

Blacker Hall has previously been named Best Farm Shop in Yorkshire on a number of occasions (Yorkshire Agricultural Society), Britain’s Best Farm Shop (Meat Trades Journal Top Shop Awards) listed in the Telegraph and Independent Newspapers among the top farm shops in the country and holds more than 60 top awards for individual products made on site. In 2011, the shop was chosen as the UK’s Best On-Farm Butchery, again in the FARMA awards, and was last year crowned Wakefield Food Retailer of the Year. For good measure, the business was also a finalist in the Best On-Farm Butchery and Best On-Farm Café categories of this year’s FARMA awards!

Independent FARMA awards judges described Blacker Hall Farm Shop, which rears livestock on its own farm and has its own award-winning restaurant and coffee shop, The Barn, as “a first-class farm retail business, very well managed front-of-house and behind the scenes. The Barn is a beautiful place to eat, with a simple, well-executed menu. Service and product knowledge in the farm shop and café was excellent.”Farm-retailer-of-the-year-2014-UK's-Best-Farm-Shop

After receiving their latest 2014 Britain’s Best Farm Shop FARMA award – the coveted  “the farm to fork” trophy, Blacker Hall Farm Shop owners Edward and Cheryl Garthwaite (pictured right) dedicated it “to our loyal customers and devoted team of staff for their support and appreciation of fresh local produce.” Previous winners of the award include the famous Chatsworth Farm Shop on the Duke and  Duchess of Deveronshire’s Estate in Derbywhire and The Ludlow Food Centre in Shropshire.

Ongoing investment and development have created a virtual one-stop-shop, comprising an in-house butchery, craft bakery, delicatessen, wine loft and general groceries section. In addition to the café, there is also an on-site gift shop and florist. Blacker Hall farms 800 acres, both grassland and arable farm, producing feed for 500 Aberdeen Angus, Hereford, Simmental, British Blue and Limousin beef cattle, and 1,200 pigs – all sold through the farm shop and restaurant.
These are supplemented by further prime beef, lamb, poultry and game, sourced through established supply partnerships with reputable local farmers. In fact, the local supply philosophy remains key to the ethos of the entire business.

“Over three-quarters of all the products we sell are either made or prepared on-site, supplemented by local, seasonal and fresh produce from the Wakefield area, Yorkshire the north-east. We are fully committed to supporting local farmers and other specialist producers and, in turn, both the local and regional economy at every opportunity,” stresses Cheryl Garthwaite.

The business is a member of the national Butchers Q Guild, comprising 120 elite butchers from Inverness to Cornwall. Blacker Hall Farm Shop has also bagged multiple gold awards for its products in both Q Guild product evaluation events and other meat trade competitions, among them a string of Great Taste Awards. The Barn restaurant and coffee shop was voted ‘Best Restoration’ project in 2011 by the Wakefield Civic Society.

Blacker Hall Farm Shop also runs a thriving Customer Club that now has in excess of 15,000 members. Customer Loyalty Club members can enjoy exclusive offers every month as well as earning points every time they shop for savings on future transactions.Looking to the future, the business is on schedule to make a start on further improvement work this Spring, including a new shop entrance and extension to the retail area, along with a landscaped car park.

Edward Garthwaite said: “Our aim over two generations has always been to sell the meat we produce through our own farm shop, to provide an exceptional eating and shopping experience built on our commitment to outstanding customer service and fresh local and seasonal produce.