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London Diary: Farm to Store to Table

A rural farm with its own big city shop? Now there’s an original thought. Almost like a computer maker that has its own retail stores all over the world. (When Steve Jobs proposed building stores to Apple’s Board of Directors, they thought that he was “crazy.”)

Sheepdrove.jpg

Peter and Juliet Kindersley seem to think outside the box. Their 2,250 acre organic farm near the town of Hungerford, Berkshire, about 70 miles due east of London, supplies their two butcher shops: one in Bristol and the other in the Maida Vale district of London. In addition, they have a “meat box scheme” that delivers their products (including mutton, meat from sheep over two years of age) directly to customers at home.

Vertical integration or disintermediation are the terms that an Econ professor would use to describe this business strategy, but I prefer to think that Sheepdrove Farm’s stores allow customers to buy directly from the farmer. I like to know who grows my food.

I wonder if this idea will catch on. Farmers sell their produce every day at farm stands; what’s to stop them from going further afield?

Addendum: The Kindersley family is on to something. In addition to their work at Sheepdrove Farm, Peter and Juliet own Neil’s Yard Remedies, a natural medicine apothecary with 80 shops worldwide; and their children run an olive/citrus orchard in Ibiza and a biodynamic vineyard in the Cahors appellation in the southwest of France — not to mention bookstores at the farm and in Notting Hill in London, a bottled water business, and a café and restaurant.

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