Cornwall Life Magazine - April / May 2007
Following demand for locally sourced produce, Trevilley Farm Shop was born. Lesley Double meets the owners and talks about its success.
Trevilley Farm has been owned and run by the same family since the late 1800’s. Situated on the edge of the village of Lane, close to the hustle and bustle of Newquay, the farm has sweeping views across fields and gentle hills towards the wind turbines at Carland Cross.
Following a demand for good, local produce, current occupants Keith and Gill Barrett decided to start producing their own vegetables, beef and lamb and so, five years ago, Trevilley Farm Shop was born. “It has been a busy and exciting few years,” says Gill. “We weren’t sure if it was going to work at first, but it’s just got better and better.”
A quick look round the shop and there’s no denying that this venture has been a huge success. Every year more products have been added to their repertoire, some grown, reared or produced at Trevilley, and some, such as organic cheese from the Cornish Cheese Company, Trenance chocolate and Roskilly’s ice cream, are brought in from outside. “We are very fussy about what we choose to sell,” Gill explains. “It has to be as natural, organic or free-range as possible, but most of all it must be Cornish. People have tried to get us to sell products from Devon or Somerset, and we’ve turned it away. It may be nice, but if it’s not from Cornwall, we don’t want it!”
As word got round about the shop, more and more people came to try it out. The shop has increased in size several times and there are kitchens at the back where items such as bread, pies, cakes and pasties are all prepared. Today the business attracts both locals and holidaymakers and the Barretts supply restaurants and self-catering cottages, delicatessens, shops and campsites, even a children’s nursery.
Gill and Keith have been joined in this venture by daughter and son-in-law Georgie and Errol Warman, who are just as enthusiastic about the business. Georgie, who is proud to describe herself as the “fifth generation of the family to work on the farm”, helps out with both selling and cooking. In January this year she went on a bread-making course and the shop sells many different and exciting types of bread, all made fresh on a daily basis. A table by the door encourages the curious to try-before-they-buy, with a selection of bite-size chunks of the more unusual varieties of bread, such as bacon and onion fougasse - a large, flat, knotted loaf.
Errol is in charge of the farm’s website. Not only does it include the obvious directions to the farm and items sold, but a weekly news bulletin and recipes. There are also links on this site to the websites of other relevant organisations.
Having started out supplying the basics, the shop now supplies more unusual food. Not just carrots and onions, but also purple and white sprouting broccoli and giant red celery. Not just strawberry jam and marmalade, but quince cheese and summer pickle. For customer convenience, the shop makes its own ready-meals: meatballs in mushroom and horseradish sauce, game soup, beef stew, or pot roast pork. For those who wish to cook a meal from scratch, two counters display the fresh meat available. The beef and lamb are reared on the farm. “The animals only have to travel a few miles to Marazanvose to be slaughtered,” said Gill. “They are reared in a stress-free, non-intensive environment, and being slaughtered so close to home minimises the stress there too. We didn’t think this would make much difference to the quality of the meat, but it certainly does: happy cows and lambs means tasty meat!”
After slaughtering, the beef is hung for two weeks before being turned into mince, skirt, topside, or steaks for example. The lamb may become shoulder or leg joints, liver, chops, burgers or lamb and mint sausages. The shop also sells pork, poultry and game. “We have started selling our products by mail order,” says Errol. “Before Christmas we were sending our turkeys to London or Surrey: people wanted to have what they’d eaten on their holidays back at home. We’ve also invested in some cool-boxes, which keep food cold for up to 24 hours. When people are on holiday and want to take something home, they can now take more than just a pot of jam.”
The Barretts say that although the farm’s success is growing, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. At the end of last year a fire destroyed the main barn. Fortunately the livestock were all led to safety before the fire took hold, but 80 firemen spent 24 hours tackling the blaze. The site was quickly cleared and preparations for a new barn were soon underway. But these things take time and a temporary building had to be used during lambing and calving.
So, what next for Trevilley? A premises license was recently granted which allows the shop to sell a wide variety of wines, ales and ciders from around the county. A polytunnel has just been purchased, which means there will be salad leaves available all year round. Also, weekly produce boxes are delivered to those unable to get to the shop. And special ‘taster days’ are being planned to encourage a new section of the public to step inside: during February there was a wine and cheese-tasting day arranged in conjunction with local businesses, Lambourne Wines and Menallack Farmhouse Cheese.
Today people are turning away from mass-produced food at the supermarkets, preferring to spend their money on locally grown, reared or produced items – head to Trevilley Shop and you will not be disappointed.