A DENSTONE business has become the first to win both the Large Farm Shop and Restaurant of the Year titles at an industry awards ceremony. Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Cafe owners, Rupert and Emma Evans were presented with the prizes at the Farm Retail Association (FRA) Awards in Oxford last week. The couple also revealed new plans for the business in 2019 – including new dog-friendly facilities.
Rupert and Emma were presented Large Farm Shop and Restaurant of the Year titles at an awards dinner as part of the FRA’s Annual Conference and Trade Show.
The FRA represents 400 farm shops, farmers’ markets and pick your own farms across the UK and FRA chairman Milly Stokes, said: “The awards are a fantastic recognition of the high standards, creativity, passion and commitment to customer service in this industry.
“Shoppers can be confident that they are buying top quality produce from genuinely caring and thoughtful people when they visit farm shops, farmers’ markets and pick your own farms in this country.
“Huge congratulations to all the winners.”
The FRA awards mean the business has achieved an unprecedented sweep of titles, picking up the Best Large Farm Shop Retailer at the 2018 Farm Shop and Deli Awards, as well as Farm Shop of the Year and the Judges Choice awards in the 2018 Taste of Staffordshire Awards.
Rupert said: “We’re extremely proud to have achieved what we regard as our ‘grand slam’ of industry awards.
“It’s never been done in the same year before and it’s the result of a tremendous amount of hard work by everybody connected with the business.
“We are very proud of our talented and dedicated staff who often go above and beyond to deliver to our customers.”
He also explained the couple’s plans for expansion, with a 50-seat function room for conferences and private events in the new two-storey extension as well as a garden room which will allow dog walkers, cyclists and hikers to enjoy their home-cooked fare.
There are also plans to redevelop the car park and extend the kitchen to keep up with demand for their freshly baked, home-produced pies, pasties and cakes.
Rupert added: “There’s still plenty for us to achieve and we’re very well aware that in our industry, any business that stands still ends up going backwards, which is why we have so many developments that we’re looking to put in place this year.
“We’re experiencing an increase in the numbers of visitors who are enjoying days out with their dogs and we’re excited about creating their own dedicated garden room, which will also be open to cyclists, families and walkers.
“We also know from the inquiries we’ve had that there is a demand for conferencing and function space in this part of the country, while the demand for our home-cooked goods has gone through the roof, which is why we want to expand our production kitchen too.”
Rupert and Emma set up Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Café 12 years ago, when it had 22 seats and a small shop and butchery.
They now employ 70 staff working throughout the business from butchers, bakers, chefs, front of house café, farm shop, gift shop as well as a busy back office.
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