FAIRFIELD Farm College’s farm shop and cafe has been celebrating its first anniversary and the college is looking forward to further success for its customers and students.
Housed in an innovative purpose-built construction at the front of the college in Dilton Marsh, the farm shop and cafe opened in October 2011. Alongside the successful cafe, the farm shop stocks a wide range including food from the college’s own label.
As well as a facility for the village and community, the farm shop and cafe gives students a chance to learn new skills and engage with customers. It also enhances the teaching facilities for the college, which has around 40 students with learning disabilities.
Andy Down of the college explained, “The first year has gone really, really well. We’ve expanded our gluten-free section, we’ve got a lot more dairy-free products, we do fresh baked bread on most days – we’ve got walnut bread just out of the oven today! There’s produce from the gardens at the college, and our own Fairfield Farm College label is growing all the time with items like jam and chutney.
“The cafe has exceeded all expectations and we have a roaring trade – particularly since we started opening on Saturdays.”
Students who work in the cafe and shop can gain National Open College Network qualifications in basic retail and catering skills. Andy said, “The work experience side of things has gone fantastically well. Students gain a mixture of skills from customer service, shop presentation, thinking about their own appearance, plant care, looking after products, and keeping the shop clean – everything involved in a shop.
“What we want now is more customer feedback. The big plan is to work on the plant side of things. We’re preparing for Christmas – we’ll start doing Christmas hampers soon, have new products on the shelves, and holly and mistletoe. We’ve also got our Christmas Fayre coming up on the 7th December.”
The farm shop and cafe is open Monday to Saturday, 9.00am-4.30pm.
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