Farm shops remain vital to the economy of rural towns and villages, especially in the ever-growing presence of large supermarket chains. A popular one in particular is Minskip Farm Shop, which is located near Boroughbridge, which is owned by a husband and wife, Ben and Emma Mosey.
Ben grew up in Yorkshire and while they both decided to head to work in Australia, they both continued a passion for food production. The couple decided to return home to Yorkshire in 2017, and were offered a rare opportunity to take over a busy farm shop and a 16ha farm following the retirement of the previous owners, Pauline and David Barker.
The couple decided to take on something new. Minskip Farm Shop had been up and running for over 40 years.
Even though Ben had knowledge working on a farm, moving into egg production was something challenging and new for the both of them, which meant they had to find help and guidance from others within this industry.
Emma stated, “Coming into farming was a massive learning curve, it really did push us out of our comfort zone”.
“We get lots of positive comments from customers about the quality of our eggs,” says Emma. “Because they are so fresh, they are perfect for poaching.”
Today the farm has more than 6,000 hens with an estimated 1,000 eggs sold in the Minskip Farm Shop every day.
The couple decided to enlarge the diversity of stock in the shop by obtaining local produce from close farmers and have added three rare breed piglets and four alpacas. Within the first two years, the couple has achieved a surge in turnover by 40%. This has been done by their effective use of social media and drive to help teach the public about food and its production.
Emma explains “Social media is a big part of what we do here, because we have the public on site so often, it soon came to our attention that there was a genuine interest in where the produce came from, so we made education our main focus”.
She also states, “Our hens have a very happy life and we want to show that off. Having an open-door approach is very important to us – it is what the customer wants, and we definitely want 100% transparency in everything we do,”
Their Instagram is full of lively pictures of fresh produce and seamlessly poached eggs. They have used a very strategic approach to social media promotion, says Emma. “We have been working on a strategy for social media this year, which covers seven main pillars”.
“The content that has proved most popular has been ‘A day in the life of the farm’, pictures of produce, information on what we are doing to be sustainable and our zero-waste policy, as well as anything educational about the egg production cycle.”
As well as advertising their food production online, Emma and Ben have also presented a variety of on-farm events, which have proved popular with customers.
She explains “Our target market is young families so this year we have held events that the whole family can get involved in,”
“We had an ‘Egg-streme Easter’ event, which involved fun games such as egg battles. There was an educational twist as we explained about different shell types and why certain eggs are stronger than others.
Their Rehoming scheme was very effective as they started getting a lot of questions about where hens go after they finish laying eggs, stated Emma.
“It was a difficult question to answer and it didn’t sit well with us, so we looked into the possibility of rehoming the birds.”
They were both in shock with the responses they had received and in under a week after getting their story in the local newspaper they managed to rehome 6,000 hens.
“A lot of the birds went to other farmers and local families, as well as wildlife organisations. It is great to be able to say we are a slaughter-free farm.”
Their farm and farm shop wasn’t just a massive success with the locals but it has also been a success nationally. They recently won the British Free Range Egg Producers Association’s Retailer of the Year Award 2018.
Emma explains “their next step for the couple is to become a food destination where people can eat, shop and learn about how what is on their place comes from the farm to the form”.