Farm business top of the crops in UK awards

Hollow Trees Farm, Semer, near Hadleigh, win FARMA awards ANL-160803-102836001
Hollow Trees Farm, Semer, near Hadleigh, win FARMA awards ANL-160803-102836001

A farm retailer near Hadleigh has won two prestigious national awards in recognition of how successful it has been in diversifying its business.

Hollow Trees Farm Shop in Semer, near Hadleigh, has been crowned national retail champion in the National Farm Retail and Markets Association Awards. In addition, it also won the best large farm shop award.

Hollow Trees won the awards from FARMA, a trade body representing around 500 farm retailers across the UK.

The awards, run for 15 years, are to find the best farm retailers across the UK, including shops, markets, butchers and restaurants.

Sally and Richard Bendall, who run the third generation business, manage the 140-acre farm with their 60-strong team.

Starting out nearly 30 years ago from a roadside cart selling farm produce, the farm has grown and diversified.

As well as a successful farm shop, Hollow Trees has a butchery selling the farm’s beef, pork and lamb, a plant centre and coffee shop.

There is also a popular farm trail, with goats, geese, pigs, turkeys, chickens, cattle and alpacas and children’s play areas.

Sally Bendall, managing director of Hollow Trees, said: “We were genuinely surprised and delighted to win.

“We were up against some businesses at the top of their game and it’s very pleasing for a farm shop from a little village should win. We are all so pleased.”

Commenting on Hollow Trees success, the judges said: “Hollow Trees Farm does everything that retailing in a farm shop or market needs and it does it extremely well.

“All parts of this long-running, but still expanding business are very well run, with the staff really involved in creating the atmosphere and feel of the place. All of the many different activities seem to complement each other, showcasing their own produce, local produce and the countryside as a whole.”

Michael Mack of Savills, the managing agent for FARMA, said: “The awards are a fantastic way to reward our members for their hard work and dedication.”