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Hereford Farmers' Markets stallholders
1:39pm Thursday 9th February 2012 in Food & Drink
THOUGH its name might suggest that members are all farmers born and bred, a closer look at Herefordshire Farmers’ Market Group reveals an interesting range of former careers.
Andy Offer of Whyle House Lamb, for example, moved from a career at ADAS, the farm advisory service, to do it for real.
Together with his wife Frances, whose previous career was with GCHQ (which is as much as she can reveal of her secret past), Andy set up Whyle House Lamb in 2003 with just 10 ewes and a borrowed ram and in the first year sold 14 lambs to family and friends. In 2012,they will sell more than 350 lambs to local pubs and through Farmers’ Markets in Herefordshire.
“We’re working harder than we’ve ever done’, says Andy, “and for a lot less money, but it’s what we’ve always wanted to do and it’s immensely satisfying.”
One of Whyle House Lamb’s aims is to reconnect people with where their food comes from and their annual lambing afternoons have proved very popular: this year they will open their farm for three weeks from March 5, 2pm to 5pm every day. For details, go to whylehouse.co.uk/events.
Although the Tudge family, who sell free range pork and chicken, have been in farming for several generations, both Guy and Chris Tudge initially followed other careers, but the lure of the Herefordshire countryside brought them back to the farm.
“Although it’s incredibly hard work and long hours, I never feel as if I’m going to work,” said Chris Tudge as he packed sausages for the next farmers’ market.
But not all the producers have completely given up their past careers. David Jenkins, who sells wine from his vineyard, St Anne’s, near Newent, is a chartered accountant and part owner of a lighting business, two enterprises that pay the mortgage.
Many of the farmers’ market producers have left excellent well-paid careers to try a new life producing and selling food, and enjoying the satisfaction of seeing a product from field to plate.
FARMERS’ MARKETS DATES
Hereford – today (February 9) and February 16, 23 and March 3
Leominster – February 11 and March 10
Ross-on-Wye – March 2