It was a challenging start to the year on the farm, and not just because of the relentless rain! After much deliberation we sadly closed our home delivery business, Northern Harvest, at the end of January. With 18 years of weekly food deliveries, hundreds of customers and a dedicated team of staff, this was a very difficult decision to make.
But in farming you can't stand still for long. We've taken the opportunity presented to us with the closure of one part of the business to help develop something totally different at Kenyon Hall: a coffee roastery! In this post I'll introduce our latest venture, including the interesting couple of characters behind it...
Since founding Northern Harvest in 2002 we have been fortunate to have a devoted core group of customers, many of whom have been with us since the very beginning. However, in recent years we’ve been battling to attract and retain new customers in the face of stiff competition from supermarkets with more resources than we could ever match. The number of deliveries has been steadily declining from a peak of over 500 a week in the late 2000s, and after trying several different ideas to revive the business, we felt we had little choice but to draw a line under the operation.
We appreciate that this will come as disappointing news to our loyal customers and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We are also conscious that this will be a blow to our suppliers, many of whom are small independent producers relying on us to help sell their goods. Most of all we’re sorry to the wonderful staff who have worked tirelessly for Northern Harvest over the years. Not least to our manager and fellow director Ed, who has been with us since Northern Harvest began and has dedicated some of the best years of his career to running the business.
No other elements of Kenyon Hall Farm will be affected in any way by this decision. The Farm Shop, Café, Plant Centre and Pick Your Own operations, as well as the traditional agricultural side of the farm continue to develop and expand. Despite the closure of Northern Harvest, at Kenyon Hall we remain as dedicated as ever to supplying our local communities with fresh, local, seasonal produce and championing British food and farming wherever we can.
As many of you will know, the Farm Shop sells much of the same produce as Northern Harvest and we hope that as many of you as possible will continue to support us here at the farm. Although the shop doesn’t have the space to display the huge range of goods sold by Northern Harvest, we’d be happy to discuss any requests for specific items you may have which we could source for you. We also intend to continue taking Christmas food orders for turkeys, geese, veg boxes etc, just as we’ve done at the farm shop for the last decade.
On behalf of everyone at Northern Harvest, we’d like to say many thanks for all your support over the years. We hope we’ve helped bring some fresh, local, seasonal groceries into your life and it has been a pleasure to do so. We look forward to seeing you here at the farm in future.
And there's no doubt the coffee team mean business. Their impressive and shiny roaster (which looks like it belongs to NASA) can roast up to 100kg of beans a week - that's a tonne of coffee every couple of months! With this capacity they're keen to grow their market and would love to hear from anyone looking for a quality, local wholesale supply of coffee. If so, you can get in touch directly at CarringtonsCoffee.com.
James Bulmer (26th February 2020)