Denstone Hall Farm Shop
PUBLISHED: 13:37 30 June 2011 | UPDATED: 21:35 20 February 2013
Rupert and Emma Evans have established an award-winning farmshop at Denstone Hall Farm, near Uttoxeter
Walking into Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Caf, it is difficult to imagine how the building looked not too long ago.
It was certainly very different, says owner, Rupert Evans, gesturing around him. The building was a milking parlour and when we started it had bare walls, bare floor and a whole load of unused milking equipment in the middle. That was in 2006, before an extensive refurbishment programme which saw the equipment removed and replaced with the caf, an adjoining shop and a butchers counter with a wide range of freshly prepared meat laid out on show.
Now, Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Caf is going from strength to strength on the back of its warm welcome, home-cooked meals and good local food, including the farms own meat it has its own award-winning sausage and bacon and produce such as fresh bread from Spencers in Ashbourne, outdoor reared pork from Packington Pork and Chris Ball at Prestwood, locally produced butter and cheeses, fruits and vegetables, pies, puddings and jams.
Rupert runs the shop and caf with his wife, Emma, and it is a living testament to their love of the countryside and the food that it produces, a passion that has seen them win the title of Tea Shop of the Year in the Taste of Staffordshire Awards for three years running, as well as an appearance in the finals of the Countryside Alliances Rural Oscar Awards this year.
Their tale is that of a high-flying couple who gave up London life to move into the country, but instead of a clichd story of two people who swapped sharp suits and mid-morning skinny lattes for Hunter wellies and a tumbledown country cottage, both Rupert and Emma are originally country-born.
Denstone Hall Farm belongs to Emmas family and, although she pursued a city career in fashion rather than staying in the company of mud and cows, she is now in her element. Rupert is a farmers son who was advised against following in his fathers footsteps but, after pursuing a career in advertising, is equally delighted to be making a living in the countryside again.
This is most certainly the best of both worlds for us, he says. We had a fantastic time in London, but farming is in our blood and we feel thoroughly at home in the countryside. Few people put their heart and soul into their work as much as rural producers do. Theirs is an incredibly challenging business and their commitment is one of the reasons I enjoy getting out and meeting them and stocking their produce in the shop. If we all get it right, well all make a living out of doing what we love most.
Rupert calls his independent suppliers Food Heroes people who still believe in bringing quality produce to the marketplace in a society ever-more geared to convenience shopping. This part of the country isnt on the normal national food trail so unless people head into the Peak District to pick up a genuine Bakewell Pudding, most people wouldnt come here unless they know what they are looking for, Rupert says.
Emma and I are both passionate about good food, so the fact that I can use the shop as a showcase for what this area produces is definitely the best part of the job. I love serving people in the caf, but nothing beats putting customers in touch with the great food that is produced just a few miles away and which they might not otherwise discover. Were already hoping to expand the business, so watch this space!
Denstone Hall Farm Shop, Denstone, Nr. Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, ST14 5HF TEl: 01889 590050www.denstonehall.co.uk