Supplying demand for sustainable products
An organic farm shop and online delivery are just a couple of Gazegill Organics’ successful initiatives. And they have another exciting new venture planned.
Emma Robinson and Ian O’Reilly have long been on the hunt for ways to diversify their business, opening a farm shop over a decade ago. “We saw the demand for local produce as people started to take a real interest in where their food came from, so we converted an old piggery into the shop”, says Emma.
From the land to online
Initially only open two days a week, the shop soon moved to a seven-day operation to cope with demand, along with attending farmers’ markets in the wider area. “The two together meant we could reach local people during the week, and then spread further at the weekends.” But the operation, now called Gazegill Organics, was restricted by the markets they chose. “Ultimately, it’s hard to scale physical presence. That’s when we started to look at using the internet.” The result was an e-commerce operation, with the ability to reach and deliver to people across the country.
Shifting to online, combined with the farm shop, has been so successful that they’ve now stopped selling at weekly markets. “We sell 600 boxes of organic produce a week online – the cost of doing that through farmers’ markets wouldn’t be sustainable.” To aid this, they’ve streamlined the process of internet orders and automated booking couriers, saving around four hours a day. Alongside the retail arm, Emma and Ian are also looking at becoming more self-sufficient, reducing costs by investing in renewable energy sources. “We’ve got a turbine, solar panels and ground-source heat-pump. It means we have more control over our energy supplies and in the long term, it’ll help bring bills down significantly.” They’re also investing in an on-site eco-restaurant powered by solar energy, with zero food miles as all food will be sourced from the farm. They’re planning to build holiday lets above the farm shop to generate further income, too. Being prepared to try new things and not be held back by what’s worked in the past has been key for Gazegill Organics’ continued success.
“We’ll continue to invest in our farm’s sustainable activities, supplying consumers with organic produce – there’s a clear demand for it across the UK and investing in this will continue to propel us forwards.”
If you're looking to diversify your farming business, contact one of our Agricultural Area Managers today to see how we can help.