Calcott Hall Farm Café
The McTurks have been farming at Calcott Hall for over 40 years. The farm is 120 acres (equivalent to about 70 football pitches) and was formerly a dairy farm. From humble beginnings selling potatoes and sweetcorn from boxes in 1974, the renovation of an old Essex barn in 1983 provided the shop premises.
With the benefit of a LEADER grant of £86,000 another barn has been converted into the Barnyard Café which has been a runaway success from the moment it opened in October 2016. The grant has enabled a further nine full time jobs at the farm and it has proved immensely popular with locals and people from further afield.
For more information please see www.calcotthall.com
The husband and wife partnership of Dale and Victoria Symons planted the first vines in this idyllic location in Latchingdon on the Crouch Valley in 2006. The first grapes were harvested in 2009 and the yield has now increased to in excess of 50 tonnes per annum. More than 4000 bottles of wine have been produced so far which are marketed at local events and wine tasting sessions.
LEADER provided a grant of £38,000 to convert an existing barn into a wine shop, wine production cellar, wine tasting facility and tea room with the project creating 2.2 new full time equivalent jobs.
For more information please see Clayhill Vineyard
Dan Hull Prepared Foods Ltd
This is a very young company, set up in 2013 to make high quality handmade food from the best ingredients sourced locally. The idea was to make fresh and frozen products with full traceability to sell to local and UK food retailers.
Over 70 customers now order weekly and the customer base is spread over several counties. Clients include East of England Co-ops, independent farm shops, delis and Selfridges. The business has won 3 National Great Taste Awards for their liver parfait, steak pie and chicken & pistachio terrine.
LEADER has given a grant of £52,000 to allow the business to move to much larger premises with state of the art cooling and production capabilities. It will also enable the staff to have adequate facilities and there will be a new office and conference room. Ultimately this project will enable a further 14 full time equivalent jobs in the area, which will be a real boost to the rural economy.
For more information please see Dan Hull’s website
Sarah Green’s Organics received a grant of £23,000 towards the purchase of a camera guided robotic hoe (known as Robocrop) which will allow the high speed and economic weed control of the existing farm’s organic vegetable crops. This will lead to more reliable production to supply the expanding direct sales operation and will improve the viability of the farm. It will also allow the farm to increase the vegetable growing area by 4.53ha to a total of 21.86ha and take on a further 2 full time staff.
Essex Waterways – The Victoria
A grant of almost £33,000 has enabled the purchase of a passenger boar which is situated at Paper Mill Lock on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation at Little Baddow. The boat was built specifically for this waterway and was about to be sold. Essex Waterways (which is a charity) saw the potential for an income stream for the charity and were successful in being awarded a grant for the project. The boat is available for parties, including weddings, and is a very different (and interesting) venue for a meeting.
Jesters Integrated Childcare Ltd
This facility is based in Bicknacre, near Danbury, and the owner has been running a very successful after school club for the past 16 years. She is now opening a new, purpose-built nursery and has received a grant of £88,000 to help her achieve this.