NESTLED just a mile outside the historic market town of Kirkby Stephen, a new family-run farm shop and deli has swung open its doors for the first time.
Owen’s Farmshop, run by Jill and Robert Owen (and their ‘nearly five-year-old’ son, Archie), opened on Saturday, April 1, to great local acclaim.
The shop is located at Sandwath Farm, which Jill and Robert took over in 2014, and decided to diversify the farming business by converting a redundant boarding kennel building to house their new venture.
“The kennel was just a steel frame, so we’ve had to build walls, floors, roof, doors, and windows, which we started last October,” Jill said.
While it may draw obvious comparisons to Diddly Squat Farmshop, made famous by TV Show Clarkson’s Farm, Jill was quick to point out some differences.
She said: “Unlike Diddly Squat, we have a hard-standing car park, and we had full support from the (Kirkby Stephen) parish council.”
Jill outlined the philosophy behind their new business.
“We’re very passionate about keeping what we sell local,” she said.
“We sell our own beef, lamb, and pork that we farm right here, but we’re really keen to work with other local producers.
“Our products have colour-coded labels so if it’s produced on-site it’s one colour, and we have two different coloured labels for things made within a 10-mile radius, and a 25-mile radius.
“We also sell lots of local crafts, and Rob’s sister does prints for us.”
Jill added that it has been a learning process for them both.
She said: “We’re from farming families, but Rob has always been a farmer, and I’ve worked in financial services for 17 years.
“We have a great team of staff, as we couldn’t do it all on our own, and Archie’s a big part of the team.
“For the first weekend we welcomed guests with non-alcoholic prosecco and gave them cakes, burgers, sausages etcetera, just to showcase what we do.
“But we’ve been very busy – we started with our new menu just yesterday (Tuesday), so we’d love people to stop by and give us a try.”