What a difference a day makes. You’ll be pleased to hear that I’m not going to use this column as my usual ranting/moaning space. Us farmers love a good moan don’t we?
Things have finally turned a corner for us. It all happened with a random phone call from a butcher in London with three shops. London has always been in my peripheral vision, though logistics have always been a challenge.
But with things being so blooming hard for the last few months, we decided to just have a punt and bite the bullet, beginning to deliver into London.
I’ve always thought we might do well there and I wish I’d have followed my instinct sooner now. Within a matter of weeks we now have nine to 10 customers down there and a few other potentials, and are looking at a new delivery vehicle with more capacity.
It’s just so refreshing to not have to constantly battle with a price war – down there seems they’re more than willing to pay the premium for a free-range product.
Don’t get me wrong, up North there are plenty of quality butchers shops and restaurants that are happy to pay the premium, understanding that we just keep our prices the same, all year round, regardless of what the market is doing, and quite like the fact that they know that there’s not going to be any sudden price hikes.
But on the other hand, there are also some that I have to constantly explain that my price needs to be above cost of production otherwise my business will end up being another statistic.
Obviously it’s as hard as it’s ever been at the moment with the market price on the floor, but I’m fairly hopeful it has stopped falling now and is stabilising and – fingers crossed – soon on the up.
And to top off my good few weeks, my brother has kindly drilled a couple of fields of peas next to my house so I’m looking forward to my favourite time of year when I can sit quietly in a field and gorge myself on fresh peas straight from the pod. Life doesn’t get better than that!
Anna Longthorp runs Anna’s Happy Trotters, a pork wholesale business supplying butchers, restaurants and farm shops with free-range pork from her family’s 2,100 breeding sows