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Stackyard News Mar 2010

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A New Farm Shop – Eggsactly What Belford Needs

Christine Jackson and Catherine Armstrong, the region’s largest free range egg producers, have announced today that they are to open a farm shop and café in the North Northumberland village of Belford.

(l-r) Catherine Armstrong, Robert Jackson
and Christine Jackson

Catherine Armstrong, Robert Jackson  and Christine Jackson

Located less than a minute by car from the A1, this new venture will feature a farm shop, delicatessen, butchery counter, children’s animal trail and play area, and 50 seat restaurant. Planning permission has been obtained for the site and the shop is scheduled to open in August this year. The farm shop looks set to be another success for these sisters who distribute their Sunny Hill and Oxenrig Free Range Eggs from the Forth to the Tees.

The Jacksons who work a 1000 acre arable farm at Detchant in Belford, have been farming in Northumberland for three generations. In 2005, sisters Christine Jackson and Catherine Armstrong set up Sunny Hill eggs to diversify the family business and bring them closer to their consumers. The farm and egg business now employ 24 people and the farm shop and café will create an additional 12 jobs for the local community. Catherine adds, “to operate the shop successfully we will need a Butcher, Chef/ Cooks, Kitchen Assistants, waiting staff and shop staff, and we are sure that our local community, with limited job opportunities will benefit greatly from what will be a wonderful regional attraction”.

“Working in food and farming in the North East, we know what a wealth of quality produce there is in the region. However with many rural shops disappearing, at the moment there is nowhere in Belford where people can buy locally produced food. We hope that the shop will be supported by people living in the village and surrounding area, those travelling through the area as well as people who are spending their holidays here. We also believe that this will benefit the wider community in Belford by creating further employment and also encouraging visitors to use other shops and services in the village.”

Formerly a staging post on the main London to Edinburgh route, Belford lies exactly half way between Alnwick and Berwick and is easily accessible from the A1. There is a busy village community and many holiday makers and weekenders use the village as a base or stopping off point. Currently however, there isn’t an outlet selling local produce and so by opening their own farm shop, the enterprising Jacksons will plug this gap.
Work on the building of the farm shop is scheduled to start in early March, and the team is already hard at work sourcing stock for the shop. A shop cannot survive on Sunny Hill Eggs alone and the sisters would welcome contact from any local producers able to supply interesting products for the shop.

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