National Trust opens farm shop

JOHN PLUMMER

The National Trust plans to establish farm shops across Britain after opening its first outlet on the Wallington Estate in Northumberland.

Profits from the shop, which will sell products grown and reared on the 13,000 acre estate and by other local farmers, will be distributed between the suppliers and the trust's countryside campaigns.

Felicity Finch, who plays Ruth Archer on Radio Four's The Archers, opened the pilot project last week. Managed by master butcher Hugh Lough, it will sell meat, dairy products, jams and cakes.

Trust spokeswoman Lisa Hadwin said: "We hope it will provide a blueprint for other shops across the country.

"The development of a National Trust brand for fresh food is one example of how the trust is helping to develop a sustainable future for the countryside and the rural communities it supports."

She added that farmers would be encouraged to grow products in an environmentally sustainable way and to diversify.

Another aim of the initiative is to rebuild consumer confidence in the countryside following recent food scares and the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

By selling food nurtured in a traditional agricultural environment, the trust hopes to show there is still a market for high-quality local produce.

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