Diversification at Coverwood farm, from beef to onsite butchery, equipment increasing produce range and an Airstream for café and local event catering thanks to Rural Surrey LEADER grants.
Coverwood Farm, comprising 200 acres in the heart of the Surrey Hills, is home to a herd of pedigree Hereford Cattle and was established in 1973. Coverwood has been farmed by the same family for the last 60 years and they have been looking for ways to diversify as beef profit margins have been squeezed.
The Fillet and Bean Airstream
The family were planning to increase visitor numbers, weddings and corporate events and needed to provide a quality catering offering to present the right image as well as increasing visitor spending. Previously visitors were offered tea and cake from a garage and weddings were previously catered with a BBQ.
The farm sells direct to the public, also at events, such as Cranleigh Show and Munstead Horse Trials and weddings using the farm's Airstream - the Fillet and Bean - 50% funded by LEADER in 2013, and branded with the Coverwood logo, which now offers a menu of home-produced beef and lamb burgers and steaks, locally sourced sausages, local cakes, seasonal salads and coffee.
Running a programme of garden visits, opera festivals and weddings the airstream enable the farm to diversify and showcase the farm's own produce as well as local suppliers, giving visitors a quality, artisan food offering from a quality and unique platform.
Farm based meat processing facilities
A gap in the market opened the opportunity for a bespoke farm-based cutting plant. The farm was awarded a further LEADER grant to provide a facility that will enable the current meat processing business to expand, whilst also providing a facility for other Surrey farmers to use for the butchery of their own meat. The project was developed in conjunction with the Surrey Hills Butchery team who will undertake the butchery services.
The funding assisted with the build costs and the fitting out of the building. The new building has a meat hanging room, butchery, walk-in freezer and refrigerator, professional kitchen and store. The kitchen offers demonstration space to new clients as well as supporting the farm's existing outdoor catering business by providing additional preparation space.
Equipment to increase productivity and grow the range of produce
Another LEADER grant was awarded in 2020 when the need for additional equipment was identified to allow larger volumes of meat to be processed and to create greater efficiencies of production. This included specialist weigh scales, a floor-standing vacuum packer, a large volume mincer and a chiller unit to fit an existing vehicle. In addition, a dry-ager cabinet also allowed a new range of high-quality dried meat products to be developed, such as dry-aged beef and biltong.
By selling more of their own beef, showcasing other local produce, diversifying the range of produce from their herd, the farm is ensuring its stability for the future.
Project costs, grant awarded, and job created
Grant awarded £20,306
On Farm Butchery and equipment
Total project cost £266,470
Grants awarded: £106,678
Jobs created: 3 FTEs in 3 years
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