FOUR years, three generations, and one great big success – Hutchinson Hobbs Farm Shop & Butchers, at Castlelevington, near Yarm, is going from strength to strength and has just been named Small Farm Shop of the Year by the Farm Retail Association.

Barry Hutchinson and Jenny –nee Hobbs, hence the shop's name – and Barry’s parents, Alan and Anita are local families with a strong farming background. They opened the business on May Bank holiday weekend in 2015 and say it's has been an exciting adventure ever since. But they are keen that their whole team get the credit for their success. "We are all delighted with the award," says Jenny. "It's a real team effort."

Barry and Jenny's children, Jessica and Katie, have also been very involved in the business right from the start too, helping to choose the kids' shopping trolleys and the toys for the the picnic area. Jessica even came up with the grand design of the "little pink tractor", the business logo.

The shop is a shining example of how delicious food can be sourced direct from local farms, reducing food miles whilst improving quality, provenance and sustainability within a community. It might mean eating a little more seasonally, but that's no hardship when the food is bursting with flavour.

Barry and Alan head up the butchery side, which makes up about 60 per cent of the business. They cure and smoke their own bacon and hams and carry a full range of sustainably sourced free-range chicken. All the sausages, burgers and processed meats are produced in-house, all the beef and lamb is grass-fed and dry aged.Unlike supermarket butcheries, they pride themselves on providing a full carcase experience, with all cuts of meat, including offal.

Alan, who was a dairy and beef farmer most of his life, has a good relationship with the local farmers and personally selects the animals for the butchery, ensuring the welfare standards of all their animals are to the highest possible standard. Barry manages the butchery and wholesale trade, making sure customers - which include local pubs, village shops and independent caterers - are given a fantastic service and the best quality meat.

Jenny, who grew up on the family farm in Zimbabwe, and Anita work in the shop and spend many hours carefully selecting which products to sell. Some of the goodies that regular customers flock in for include bread from Stonehouse Bakery, on the North Yorkshire coast, made using natural ingredients without the use of artificial additives or preservatives, and artisan breads in from Rise Bakehouse, Crook. Then there are cakes and traybakes from three local bakers, English and local cheeses, delicious home-made quiches, award-winning Scotch eggs and a delicious range of olives, anti-pastis, pates, flavoured oils, and vinegars. Hutchinson Hobbs

also sells a range of flours, eggs, pasta, sweets, chocolates and crisps. Oh, and stuff that's good for you, too, a fantastic array of salads, vegetables and fruit, most seasonal and from local suppliers.

Which all leaves them very little time to celebrate their win, but if they do find a moment, they could just sidle into the drinks section and pick up a bottle from the large selection stock. Cheers!


Saturday, April 27: Brymor Ice-cream

Friday, May 3: Shepherd's Purse Cheese

Saturday, May 4: Poetic Licence Gins

Monday May 6 (Bank Holiday): Shop closed

Saturday, May 11: A Little Cakeness

Saturday, May 18: Hutchinson Hobbs Family Fun Day & Artisan Food Fair

Saturday, May 8t (6pm-9.30pm): HH Party and live music (Book tickets)

Sunday, May 19: Hutchinson Hobbs Craft Fair

Friday, May 24: Blacksheep Brewery