Featured Business of the Month - Regional

Farmer Ian Jalland set up Brockleby's Farm Shop in Asfordby Hill, Melton Mowbray, two and a half years ago, offering a home-grown taste of the region


The shop sells rare breed lamb from Ianís own farm, alongside top quality food and drink produced in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland. The shop's larder is packed with the pride of the region: Locally produced cheeses include Stilton from nearby Quenby Hall and the only Red Leicester made in Leicestershire. Shoppers can pick up organic flour which has been ground in the traditional way at Whissendine Windmill as well as the freshest of seasonal fruit and vegetables grown in the area. The store stocks fresh milk from Normanton, yoghurt churned in Thrussington and wild venison from Castle Donington. Bread, honey, jams and preserves, all made in the region, can be washed down with a glass or two of wine from the Welland Valley or beer from the Vale of Belvoir.

Brockleby's also houses a farmhouse kitchen where traditional pies and meals are cooked on a daily basis, using local ingredients, while customers watch. Brocklebyís makes its own Melton Mowbray pork pie, which has recently been awarded organic status by the Soil Association.The pie, made by Brockleby's Farm Shop, in Asfordby Hill, Melton, gained a gold award at the Great Taste Awards - the competition universally regarded as the Oscars of the fine food world. It uses free-range rare breed pork, both in the pies and to make its own jelly and lard, locally-ground organic flour is used for the crunchy pastry.

Brockleby's Farm Shop owner Ian Jalland said the accolade reflected the quality of ingredients used in his pies, which are made using traditional Melton Mowbray techniques. Brockleby's Farm Shop is the most recent addition to the pie-making fraternity in Melton Mowbray - a tradition which began in the Leicestershire town more than 200 years ago. The shop opened thanks to a grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The department provides support for farmers seeking to diversify.

Ian's family had been raising livestock in Upper and Nether Broughton since 1603. With four hundred years of family history resting on his shoulders - and what could be described as the most challenging market conditions for farmers in as many centuries, Ian knew he had to evolve to survive.

''We wanted to develop a closer relationship between the farmer and the customer. This is how farmers operated before the war and we needed to get back to that way of working in order to make a living.Selling direct, through farmers' markets and at the farm shop, also means that shoppers know exactly where their food has come from. This is becoming more and more important to people these days,'' he said.

Ian farms using traditional methods. That means that the farm's fields are free from artificial fertilisers, pesticides and GM crops and the meat is free from hormones and antibiotics. The animals have a longer life than intensively farmed livestock - and a shorter, and therefore less stressful, trip to the abattoir - all the meat on sale at the shop is slaughtered locally. For more information about Brocklebyís, log on to www.brocklebys.co.uk or call 01664 813200.