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Artisan studio reflects family's 'farm to fork' ethos

PUBLISHED: 11:45 26 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:45 26 April 2019

The Little White Lamb Co has opened an 'Artisan Studio' in East Harling. Pictured: Olivia Shave in the new shop. Picture: Chris Hill

The Little White Lamb Co has opened an 'Artisan Studio' in East Harling. Pictured: Olivia Shave in the new shop. Picture: Chris Hill

Chris Hill

A rural business which started with just five orphaned lambs is continuing its growth by opening a shop to showcase more of Norfolk and Suffolk's artisan producers.

Olivia Shave with some of The Little White Lamb Co's flock of Norfolk Horn sheep. Picture: Chris HillOlivia Shave with some of The Little White Lamb Co's flock of Norfolk Horn sheep. Picture: Chris Hill

Olivia Shave and her husband Justin run a lamb meat box scheme through the Little White Lamb Co in East Harling, near Thetford, which has just completed its first year of trading – and its first lambing season, with 44 new arrivals from its 29 ewes.

But after turning their hobby into a business, the couple realised it needed an extra income stream to make it financially viable.

So they have opened their Artisan Studio shop, not only as an outlet for their own meat products and ready meals, but also to showcase other East Anglian producers who share their ethos of local provenance, respecting the natural environment and keeping traditional crafts alive.

It features around 50 producers from Norfolk and Suffolk, with 900 products lines ranging from wool and sheep products to food and drink, lamps, teapots, ceramics, wooden bowls and handcrafted pens.

Part of The Little White Lamb Co's flock at East Harling. Picture: Chris HillPart of The Little White Lamb Co's flock at East Harling. Picture: Chris Hill

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Mrs Shave said the studio was an extension of the principles which founded the family's flocks of pedigree Norfolk Horns and North England Mules.

“East Harling is renowned historically for its sheep fairs and textile industry,” she said. “Justin and I were both born here and grew up understanding the rules of the countryside and tradition, which we're very proud of.

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“We're hoping to continue growing and promoting the public to buy local and support small business, while maintaining an open and transparent relationship, to educate people regarding 'farm to fork'.

“The Studio is primarily an outlet to sell our lamb meat, but we would like to expand on this by promoting all by-products of sheep and educating the public of our ethos to utilise everything that this incredible animal gives us.

“All our artisans produce ethically and all have the incredible passion we do for our counties. There are just so many producers and crafts out there that deserve to be celebrated.”

Mrs Shave said the couple's two daughters – Jenna, 21, and Abigail, 19 – also play a key role in the business.

Future plans include public lambing days, and “Meet the Maker” workshops at the Artisan Studio to give the public hands-on experiences in spinning, weaving, pottery and photography.

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