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Shoppers flock to family farm back by Yorkshire Bank

27th October 2012

A fresh produce shop near Rotherham has been launched by a south Yorkshire farming family after gaining support from Yorkshire Bank's Agribusiness team.

Lawns Farm Shop in Morthen has been opened by AE Ross & Son, a family business which has farmed 200 acres at the village for more than 60 years.

Produce from the farm, including beef, hens' eggs, milk and a wide range of locally-sourced, hand-crafted products are being sold by Lawns Farm Shop, managed by Anthony Ross. Anthony, 24, runs the farm with his father, David, and elder brother, Christopher.

Other products sold in the shop, based in a specially-converted cowshed, include meats from other nearby farms, fruit and vegetables, duck eggs, homemade cakes, preserves, cheeses, breads and handmade chocolates.

The current Ross family is the third generation to farm the land acquired by their grandfather, Alfred Edwin Ross, in the 1940s. The land, between Rotherham and Sheffield, is used mainly for dairy farming with a herd of about 90 Friesian Holstein cattle in milk. The family has also bred Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Belted Galloway cows.

What started out as a poultry hobby has grown into a sizeable collection of chicken and duck varieties, plus a commercial free-range turkey and goose operation for Christmas. The farm also has a growing herd of pigs, mainly rare or old English breeds such as British Lop and Gloucestershire Old Spots.

Anthony Ross, who studied forensic and analytical science at Sheffield Hallam University, said: "We opened Lawns Farm Shop to create a new income stream after I joined the family farm.

"We are open Tuesday to Sunday, and the offer of locally-sourced, fresh produce at competitive prices is already proving very popular. At first it was largely passing trade but we have now built a core customer base in the village and the surrounding area.

"The growth in farmers' markets and farm shops over the last 20 years has created a new consumer market which prefers to buy local, fresh, often organic, products which are sourced within their own community. We are already on course to exceed our projected £70,000 annual turnover and have further plans to open a café and make our own ice cream.

"We have created one new job, have plans to take on an apprentice and we hope to create more work as we continue to diversify. Yorkshire Bank's Agribusiness team provided support for us to set up the new venture and we're pleased to have their backing at a time when many banks are still not lending to new businesses."

Oliver Maxey, Agribusiness partner at Yorkshire Bank's Business and Private Banking Centre in Lincoln, said: "Farmers are continuing to diversify in many ways and farm shops are especially popular. We are pleased to support this Lawns Farm Shop which we believe will be a real success."

Yorkshire Bank's northern Agribusiness team is based at its Business and Private Banking Centres in York and Lincoln.

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