James Hughes of Herefordshire’s Pengethley Farm Shop near Ross-on-Wye on their farm-to-fork ethos and selling the best sausages around…
What do you do?
I’m the owner of Pengethley Farm Shop. We stock anything and everything. We sell a huge range of meat, fruit and vegetables; we have a bakery; we sell homemade pies, pasties, quiches and sausage rolls made by our cook, Sarah; we bake our own cakes; we sell lots of dry goods, from pasta through to preserves; and we have a good range of local beers, wines and spirits. In fact, “food centre” is probably a better description for us, as you can do your whole weekly shop here. We also supply meat to lots of the area’s pubs and restaurants, including The King’s Head Hotel in Ross-on-Wye, The Penny Farthing near Ross, The Pilgrim Hotel near Hereford and The Cottage of Content in Carey.
How did the store come about?
I used to work for a supermarket, doing supply auditing. The job involved a lot of travelling all around the world, but I was looking for something closer to home – so I could get under my wife’s feet! I’d been looking at farm shops in cities such as Bristol and Cardiff, but I couldn’t find the right premises. Then this place – which was a much smaller business then, just a small greengrocer’s – came on the market three miles down the road from where I live, and it was perfect. I took over the business in 2012, launched the butchery, and it went from there. My family farm is in Hereford and my in-laws’ farm is just up the road – we sell meat from both.
Why is your location so ideal for what you do?
We’re right in the heart of rural Herefordshire and are surrounded by countless top-quality food producers. Plus, we’re easy to find, being right on the A49, on the site of the Pengethley Garden Centre. There’s a big free car park so if people are in a rush they can pull up, get what they need and then go. It’s very handy.
What are your favourite products?
Where do you start? The quality of meat we sell is phenomenal and we don’t charge inflated farm shop prices. Our steaks, which come from my father-in-law’s cattle, are superb. Our pork is from a free-range producer in Bromyard and our lamb is from local farmers, too. There’s a great deal of personal pride when you rear meat and then put it in your own shop to sell. You know the animals’ history, where they’ve come from and that they’ve had a good life. That’s very gratifying. We like to champion regional food producers. If a product is good we’ll find room for it. At the moment we have a great selection of alcohol – ciders and gins from some great makers. I really like Sly Gin – it’s made in the village next door to where I grew up so it has a homely feel.
What do you love about Pengethley Farm Shop?
It’s a very friendly place to shop. There’s a brilliant team and great customer service. You see people leaving happy and then coming back the next week. Then you know you’re doing something right.
Can you describe your typical customer?
Historically our customers were older, often retired. But we’re now getting more and more families and younger mums. I think it’s because we work very hard to keep prices down and competitive.
Biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Being a small business in the current climate is tricky, but we’ve grown year on year. Hopefully the hardest years are behind us now.
Proudest achievement so far?
The fact we have customers coming back week in week out. We’ve also won quite a few awards, including the Hereford Times’ Farm Shop of the Year 2018, and our butcher has been awarded Best Sausage at the Welsh Winter Fair numerous times.
• Pengethley Farm Shop is open 8.30am-5pm Monday-Saturday and 10.30am-4.30pm Sunday. Pengethley Garden Centre, Peterstow, Ross-on-Wye. Tel: 01989 548598. www.pengethleyfarmshop.com
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