Thornham farm set for shopping hub and cider brand
- Credit: Archant
A west Norfolk-based entrepreneur is driving forward with an investment plan to transform his farm into a hub for shoppers and create his own brand of cider.
Andrew Jamieson is investing in his Thornham-based farm Drove Orchards to create new units for a butchers and an outdoor clothing shop, and provide a new chiller for his apple juice production plant.
The new shops will add retail muscle to his agricultural business, which is already home to a farm shop and a luxury camping site.
And he is hoping the venture will provide grounding to launch his own brand of cider next year, which will draw on the farm's heritage orchard – home to 130 types of East Anglian apples.
It comes after he took the farm in a new direction when he stopped wholesaling produce to major supermarkets after his father retired.
Mr Jamieson, who was handed the funding from NatWest, said: 'The key for us is to drive footfall to our site.
'Our customers come back year-after-year and we want to keep offering them an authentic experience together with the right products.
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'Our inspiring retail tenants are core to this – we're incredibly excited about welcoming our new tenants to the site in the coming months.
'We are hugely optimistic about this next phase of growth for Drove Orchard. We really believe in our products here and are bringing together like-minded people who want to be part of this – employees, customers and tenants.
'Being creative and developing small scale agriculturally or rurally based businesses is an important part of the modern rural economy.
'You need to be smart about how you use the resources available to you but know your customer too. Ultimately our farm looks like a farm – that's what our customers want to experience.'
Stuart Baxter, agricultural manager at NatWest's Norwich office, said: 'Drove Orchards is a great example of farm diversification.
'Andrew has a real vision of what he wants to achieve but is also grounded in core values of quality, authenticity and independence.'