Jimmy Doherty, Suffolk farmer and retailer.

“Perks of partnership”

It’s no secret that diversification has been a necessity for the whole farming industry in recent years

My vision at the beginning of the business was to increase the numbers of rare breed pigs through farming them for meat. We rear our animals slowly using traditional farming methods and the whole process from farrowing to sales in the butchery ensures that British farming heritage and traditional butchering methods are carried on for future generations. In order to make this more easily achievable, looking at ways of supporting the traditional farming side of the business soon became part of our vision.

Over the years, the business has grown. I often talk about our butchery and restaurant which are both beneficiaries of the labours of our working farm. These are both very successful parts of the business and serve as a showcase for the farm’s ethos, which is so important when building a brand. We not only deliver directly to the customer from our online and on-site butchery and restaurant, but also supply a number of national restaurants. Barbecoa, Jamie’s Italian, Shake Shack and the Handmade Burger Company all serve Jimmy’s Farm products on their menus; these partnerships make us incredibly proud. Seeing ‘Jimmy’s Farm’ on menus the length and breadth of the country is a real buzz for everyone here at the farm and we plan to nurture and sustainably grow these relationships over the coming years.

Partnering with local brands is also so important, and our farm shop buys its products as locally as possible. Everything from coffee to cheese, chocolate to beer is sourced from small local producers. Showcasing and supporting what East Anglia has to offer is really important and is complementary to what we do. It’s essential that we can give customers exactly what they need in one trip. Our meat can be bought alongside a whole host of fresh produce from local businesses. Our roster of closely-located producers include locally-roasted Thistledown coffee, Suffolk Meadow ice cream, scotch eggs from Paul Thompson in Shotley, Suffolk Shipcord cheese and, most recently, charcuterie from New England Boar Company. We typically get inspiration from farmers markets and approach producers there, however we are also very lucky to have people coming into the shop and selling to us directly. Suppliers also tend to really look after each other and recommend one another to us. Word of mouth is often the way to source the really exciting products.

An exciting new local partnership we’ve just embarked on is with Aspall. Aspall has been producing cider in Suffolk for almost 300 years and we’re working with them to create a special cider just for us, ready to launch in time for our food and music festival. The festival will be held right here on our farm on the 22nd and 23rd of July. It is a real celebration of the farm and local producers, and is a great chance to kick off the summer. It’s grown over the years into something quite spectacular and we are so lucky to have built up a really loyal customer base who come from across the country to join us for the weekend. We’re expecting 10,000 people per day to come to the farm and join the party. It’s a huge amount of work for everyone involved at the farm but such a special event which encompasses everything we’re all about, all in one weekend!

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