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‘Passionate foodies’ at Frank’s Farm tell their story at new farm initiative

Frank’s Farm, a new concept in food shopping, has opened across 20 acres of farmland in Cambridgeshire.

The site is a food and drink retail park, intending to deliver a zero-waste, zero-carbon, ‘farm to fork’ experience, where local residents, schools, farmers and food retailers can come together to taste homegrown food.

Frank’s Farm chef Will Blythe with Anthony Davison. Picture: Keith Heppell
Frank’s Farm chef Will Blythe with Anthony Davison. Picture: Keith Heppell

Located on the edge of the village of Elsworth, the fourth generation of family farmers have converted old farm buildings into shops and enterprises, including a deli and café, sourdough baker, butcher, and cakery.

Frank’s Farm was named after the founder Anthony Davison’s great-grandfather Frank Davison who bought the farm 100 years ago.

Anthony wants Frank’s Farm Food Park to revive what his grandfather had built: a community hub where local farmers grew what was in season, and locals knew how to cook the wide range of healthy produce grown.

Anthony already has plans to operate as a regenerative vegetable grower in surrounding fields, as well as open a restaurant, micro brewery, cookery school and olive grove.

Anthony, who is also the director of Davison & Co and Frank’s Farm – as well as a company called BigBarn CIC – said: “For the last 20 years I’ve been trying to get everyone to buy local food, and then these old offices on the farm became available and I said, ‘Well rather than renew them as offices, let’s change it to food’.

“What we’re trying to do is grow everything in the area, and encourage local farmers to grow it, and get as many consumers coming as possible to make it viable.”

Anthony reveals that the Frank’s Farm initiative started two years ago. “It took a while to get planning,” he explained, “and a while to get the team of butcher, baker, pasta maker, barista all together, to have all the different units here.

“What we’re trying to do is have lots of passionate foodies to tell their story, so it’s not like just walking around a farm shop and seeing stuff – it’s a matter of going into each shop and meeting the person and getting their story and what’s behind each product.”

Anthony has a number of ambitious plans for the expansive site, other than those already mentioned, including making cheese and cream from the cows on the premises and growing lemons, oranges and avocados in polytunnels.

“We want to actually produce grain on the farm and then have our own mill here,” he said, “because the baker is using stacks of flour but it’s not from local sources.

“But there’s no reason why we can’t have it and make really amazing bread with fresh flour – and that goes across the whole range of products here.

“We’ve got a field just at the back of the sheds here, and that’s where we’ll be growing produce in an agroforestry, regenerative way – so rows of fruit and nut trees and then in between each row there’ll be food growing.”

The team at Frank’s Farm. Picture: Keith Heppell
The team at Frank’s Farm. Picture: Keith Heppell

Anthony says the farm has been open to the public for “about five or six weeks” and notes that the reaction from the public has been positive.

“People have come in and said, ‘Oh, this is fantastic, this is exactly what everyone wants now’ – they want to see where their food comes from.

“Another thing we do is for the last year I’ve been teaching at the school [Elsworth C of E Primary School] every Thursday, so I go in and do something different every week – whether it’s pressing apples for apple juice, or making soup or planting vegetables in a polytunnel, and the children absolutely love it.

“And every week we make a video about what we’ve done so that other schools in the area can follow, and what I want is to have a polytunnel at the school where we’re growing veg and exactly the same polytunnel here so that other parents can see what we’re doing and perhaps they can get it going in their school as well.

“It’s all about building a community around food.”

Frank’s Farm can be found on the edge of Elsworth village via Brockley Road, CB23 4EY. For more information, visit franks.farm.

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