The 12 year dream becomes a reality for the Oakes family with the opening of their 525 m² Balsall Common farm shop, reputed to be one of the largest new builds in the UK.
No strangers to farming, the Oakes’ heritage dates back over 90 years and today they supply over 6,000 eggs a day from their stock of free range hens to supermarkets and the local community.*
From the humble beginnings of an ‘honesty box’ placed on the edge of the farm, Gary and his wife Jayne were determined to create an outlet for local producers to promote their wares. This ‘field to fork’ mentality runs through the heart of the new venture and Gary speaks passionately about his quest to sell fresh, local, quality produce.
‘Being a farmer, my aim is to support local rural businesses by giving them an opportunity to promote their produce.’ He went on to say, ‘The lamb we sell is reared on our land, the honey produced in our hives; cheese is provided by Fowlers of Earlswood, and our bread is delivered daily from Lewis’s bakery, which is also part of our family’s business. Even our coffee machines have been sourced from a Balsall Common company.’
It is a true ‘family affair’ with Gary, Jayne and their four children all being involved in the project which started in earnest over 18 months ago. True to his roots, Gary was determined to support the community and use local tradesmen sourcing the electrician, plumber and carpenter from the nearby area.
The Oakes family recruited a range of staff to help them run the farm shop, deli, and café including butcher and baker, both selected for their traditional skills (as well as their friendly dispositions!) Keen to create an environment for visitors to not only shop in but also relax, Jayne has designed the café to mirror the rustic, organic feel with hues of Farrow and Ball and chunky farmhouse furniture. Purposefully situated at one end of the building, customers can unwind and lap up the stunning views across the rolling countryside. Capable of seating 56 people, the menu is wholesome and freshly made, featuring their own produce and offers great value for money.