Life continues to develop at White House Farm, on the outskirts of Norwich, as Charlotte Gurney tells us about their first Plant Fair IT'S ALWAYS EXCITING when we do things for the first time and this month is no exception as we look to hold our first ever Plant Fair on May 13 (9.30am-3pm) in our courtyard at the farm. It makes for an excellent day out, as we host many of Norfolk's well known nurseries for the day. We'll have herbs, potting plants and all sorts of advice for your garden from our knowledgeable stalls. It's your chance to come and meet the professionals, park for free and load up your boot with some glorious smells of summer.
We're also delighted to announce that we'll be joined by the 'Garden Party' team from BBC Norfolk Radio when the wonderful Thordis Fridriksson will be back once again with her microphone and those alarmingly bright shoes! They will be live from the Plant Fair interviewing stall holders, customers and any four legged friends that happen to be passing. Everyone is welcome.
If you haven't already seen our new shops, you must! We have a beautician, hairdresser, dance studio and gift shop, not to mention our wonderful florist, Amber's Rose. Debbie Jones will be launching her 'British Flowers Fresh from the Field'. Bringing the outdoors in, she will be growing a selection of cutting flowers perfect for weddings or natural bouquets for the home and workplace. She also holds regular workshops including the Spring Bouquet Workshop - a beginnersâ€™ guide on flowers, their care, preparation and display. She will cover topics from vase preparation to flower food and stem types before helping you make your own hand tied bouquet complete. Contact [email protected] for details.
Press 5 May 2017
Charlotte Gurney is more than a little excited about the first ever brown tourism sign pointing in the direction of her farm IT IS WITH GREAT EXCITEMENT that this month, I share with you, Feast readers, the erecting of our first ever brown tourism sign. After months of communication with various authorities, Broadland District Council now recognise our business as an official destination for day trippers and customers alike. Although access from Blue Boar Lane will only remain until June, clear signage will now lead the way from the main road down to the farm. In the four years of being a farmer's wife and putting our energy behind the ever growing business, I have come to respect signs of all sorts. It seems you can advertise where you like - print, radio, online - but what people really like is a good old fashioned sign telling them where they can have their next cuppa! You'll note that I've taken this to heart and at White House Farm we sport many a sign from the moment you turn in, from 'beware of the goose' to a parking sign for 'golden oldies' and even some Norfolk speak 'keep-a-troshin' to give encouragement on the long drive. It may seem a little bonkers to some of our first time visitors but it certainly adds character to a special place, not to mention getting people talking. I'd be a rich lady if I had a pound for every customer who has arrived at the counter smiling, â€˜we loved the signs coming down the drive, particularly the 'don't despair, you're nearly there' one, just when we wondered where we were goingâ€™! So next time you pass Blue Boar Lane on some miserable supermarket trip, give our new signs a go; come and seek us out. I promise it will be worth it!
Press 16 March 2017
Here we are filming with Mustard TV before Christmas as we talk about where our winter veg comes from.Press 12 February 2017
Charlotte Gurney is excited that December is finally upon us, as it, gives the butcher at White House Farm a chance to shine! THAT GREAT MONTH is finally here and it is the count down to the sumptuous, chaotic meal that takes over December, with its hours of planning, shopping and discussion, only to be over in a flash for my favourite moment - the left overs! At White House Farm we hope to be able to cater for your every need. It may only be our second ever year selling turkeys, but fortunately we have one important man who has spent many a year prepping to ensure hundreds of Norfolk families have a truly magnificent feast on December 25, and some of you discerning customers know him well: Stevie Wonder (aka Steve Taylor). He's had a long career on the high street and in farm shops, most recently Groveland Farm Shop so knows his turkey crown from his breast roll. This year we have our traditional woodland reared turkeys from Great Grove Poultry, a local family who have been rearing turkeys on their farm in Norfolk for a very long time. We have gammon, guinea fowls, geese and even pheasant if turkey isn't your thing or if there's more than one special meal this Christmas! And we have beautiful pieces of award winning local beef and lamb off the farm. Then, for the savvy that want to do their shopping in one fell swoop, there's the meaty hamper with turkey, pork, chipolatas, pigs in blankets, streaky bacon, stuffing and - last but not least - cranberry jelly. Order before December 1 and it's yours for Â£55. Itâ€™s Christmas in one basket. Have a word with Steve and he will talk through all your personal requirements. For the rest of the plate we have Brussels still on the stalk and all sorts of fabulous veg from the Brett family at Aylsham, so you can be sure of a truly local and loving Christmas put together by people who are passionate about produce and the Norfolk farming community. Make it a great one, only at White House Farm.
Last month we hosted the farmâ€™s first ever festival, run by the â€˜Porkstockâ€™ team for the Norfolk charity â€˜Nelsonâ€™s Journeyâ€™. Momentum for the event was almost entirely fuelled by social media. Never again can I say â€˜it canâ€™t be that effectiveâ€™ as hundreds of cars poured into our car park with the farmer parking each one in turn â€“ and it wasnâ€™t even a sunny day!
Since weâ€™ve taken over the day to day running of the farm, weâ€™ve slashed marketing budgets, relying more and more on the instant effects of the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and less on print (apart from my favourite foodie mag, of course). One visitor recently referred to our farm shop as â€˜instagramableâ€™, an expression I didnâ€™t even know existed. (Itâ€™s ok, you can call the farmerâ€™s wife a dinosaur!)
We even ran a competition this summer asking pickers/shoppers/dreamers to send their arty photos into the farm, in exchange for a BBQ pack and so they did, giving us some wonderful shots for digital pages. After all doesnâ€™t a picture speak a thousand words? From our handset devices we can get the look and feel of a place, and practically the taste of that cake just by glancing at our screens, wherever we may be.
For me, as the storyteller, Facebook particularly has clocked our journey, celebrating each landmark: the opening of the shop, the addition of the butchery, and even the birth of our daughter.
It also enables people to give their feedback first hand - often in an instant so we can smooth out any creases or thank someone for a favourable review, or commend a member of staff. I really feel that for a business that has had to move so swiftly, from one generation to another, from plum picking to flavoured lattes, social media has been at our side, always with us, rain or shine.
So when youâ€™re next in, glance up and see our â€˜Flikeâ€™, a start-up phenomenon from France, a live Facebook â€˜likeâ€™ counter and watch your â€˜likeâ€™ count!
Press 11 October 2016
Charlotte Gurney has big plans to make Sprowston an even nicer place to live and work in, with her new courtyard conversion down on the farm ITâ€™S HARD TO actually believe that after, months of restoration work, our courtyard conversion is finally starting to take shape. Weâ€™ve been busy transforming the derelict stables on the edge of the city into retail units and a stunning office space, much like we did with the farm shop a few years back. It feels like the culmination of endless planning, energy and vision on behalf of quite a few people, not to mention convincing decision makers along the way of the projectâ€™s potential. Hats off to the determined Scott and his team at Danco Building Services for reroofing and grafting through some very hot weather (possibly motivated by the odd homemade strawberry ice cream from the farm shop beneath!). Each tile has been carefully removed, dusted off and repositioned to keep the original authenticity of the farm, and all the while interest from customers has risen. With the new link road starting this month, joining the busy Wroxham Road with the Salhouse Road with a special roundabout just for White House Farm, you can see why. Before long we will have a mere 1200 new homes on our doorstep, making White House Farm the perfect destination to walk and cycle to â€“ it will be a handy commute for the lucky some. Plus, when the Northern Distributor Road is completed, it wonâ€™t be far from the farm, firmly establishing the site as a destination for all to enjoy, with free parking and beautiful surroundings.
Charlotte Gurney takes to the mic when BBC Radio Norfolk came and set up their equipment between the raspberry canes, recently
LAST MONTH we had a surprise visit from BBC Radio Norfolk who came to White House Farm to hold their midweek show live from the raspberry canes, interviewing the full team, from the farmer to Anya, the resident baker.
I was enormously proud of the staff as they spoke quite naturally of their individual and varied roles, all of which keep the WHF ship sailing. One customer interviewed has been coming to the farm for 30 years and has watched us through all our changes. It was wonderful hearing first hand how valued White House Farm shop and Butchery is amongst the community and how the farm diversification is appreciated â€“ we all know change takes a bit of getting used to.
In essence, I was in awe of the professional, BBC trio as they came into our business, analysed it, portrayed it an honest, creative light and then vanished like wizards into smoke. There was nowhere to hide, no chance for a retake and the team coped admirably given it was no normal day at the office. It also reminded me just how brilliant the BBC are for getting out there into local, independent businesses and highlighting how hard us Norfolk folk work to make it a jolly nice place to live. If you get the chance, listen again on the BBC iPlayer and enjoy the show until August 10!
The butchery seemed the obvious next step, and an ideal way to complement the fruit by enabling us to open all year round. Given we knew nothing about meat/butchery, it wasnâ€™t without some wonderful local people that the whole idea got off the ground. In true community spirit and by good fortune Archers donated their refurbished counter to us, Andrew Clarke at Blakeâ€™s abattoir enabled us to meet our local suppliers to ensure our meat comes from the closest farms possible and the best farms. It made me proud to have our first beef from an NR7 postcode, and to be able to tell customers how honest the process is, something the giant supermarket next to us struggles to convey. We recruited our butcher, known fondly as â€˜Stevie Wonderâ€™; he has a wealth of experience both on the highstreet and in farmshops and has taken the business from strength to strength and to our delight is creating quite a following.
As you can imagine it was with great pride that we went to collect our FARMA award this month as winner of the â€˜Best Newcomer Farmshopâ€™. To be recognised on a national level was truly exciting, and we got to meet the great Will Chase behind the success story that is Tyrells crisps.
We have great plans for the future and the venture doesnâ€™t stop here; we have a conversion of barns in the process so we can house other great local artisan and lifestyle businesses and a play barn for all those little monsters who need to let off steam.
“Went here to today and had a lovely time. We had a lovely lunch, jacket potatoes filled with tuna with scrummy hot chocolates followed by the most yummy lemon drizzle cake.” Sarah L.
“Considering it was busy the service was excellent . We had a lovely browse around the shops. Will definitely be returning.”Lily P.
“Great butcher, fantastic meat, great coffee and cakes!” Jim B.
“A Hidden Gem, I love this place as it has so much to offer, a lovely coffee shop with a real fire, a butchers with great local meats. The BBQ chicken kebabs are great. There are new businesses outside, Hairdressers, Florists, Nursery (children's) - lots on offer.” Brian G.
“Lived in Sprowston for 20 years but this was my first visit to White House Farm. Wish we'd gone sooner. Lovely farm shop with great produce. We bought a couple of egg and bacon baps and ate them outside in the sunshine with two very nice coffees. Friendly and prompt service. Recommended.” Jonathan G.
“The sausage rolls are amazing! Can't leave without one.”Sarah
“Great place - a wonderful family run this place and are always very welcoming. Coffee, cakes, and GREAT butchers.”Nathan
“Lovely family run cafe and shop, staff are very friendly and even though they were extremely busy, they still provided excellent service! We had a fabulous lunch with delicious soup and amazing cakes!”Beth
“Wonderful place! Pleasure to drink coffee here”Aldona
“Amazing place! The staff are so friendly, the sausage rolls are awesome and the chocolate cake was to die for. Coffee was fab too.”Vanessa
“Lovely little shop and a very warm welcome. Wish we had more places like this back home.”Becca
“Went here to today had a lovely time. We had a lovely lunch, jacket potatoes filled with tuna with scrummy hot chocolates followed by the most yummy lemon drizzle cake. Considering it was busy the service was excellent . We had a lovely browse around the shops. Will definitely be returning.”Sarah
“Love the sausages and meat. Always fresh and tastes so much better than from anywhere else.”Carol
“Visited today for the farmers market, first visit in a while, and very impressed with all the new additions here. Well worth a visit, keep up the good work.”Gary
“What a wonderful place! I wish I had visited sooner. Delicious lunch and some fantastic local produce on sale in the shop. Very friendly staff. Will definitely be back!”Leyla
“A really good work force. Good customer service, and most of all the food is good too.”Mike
“This is our third year buying our Halloween pumpkins from White House Farm. The children love it and we love picking up a little extra in the Farm Shop. The White House Farm apple juice is divine.”Amy
“Great cafe and fantastic farm shop. And the bonus of lovely little shops in the new converted barns”Darren
“You wouldn't believe the city is nearby... Lovely... ”Ctibor
“Simply a lovely place. PYO Paradise! Friendly and very professional family enterprise. Superb food: even the sausage rolls are in a class of their own! Well worth a visit.”David
Dollies - we are now stocking sensation Danish pastries and breads from Dollies' in Coltishall. If you haven't tried them, you need to!
Pumpkin picking will start again in October 2021.
Award Winning Butchery - sausages voted winner of 'Battle of the Bangers' plus a traditional butchery with locally sourced, delicious meat. Meet our butchers, Steve and Jack.
Cafe - eat in or out and enjoy our range of delicious light bites and tea/coffee.