Family farm in running for top national award

SADDLEWORTH RESIDENTS are urged to make an old lady very happy by securing a prestigious national award for a popular family business.

Martha Tibbot, Katy Blackshaw and Hannah Bartosiak in Albion Farm

Albion Farm Shop and Café is shortlisted for ‘Large Retailer of the Year’ in the 2017 Farm Shop and Deli Awards.

The Huddersfield Road farm has been in the Hirst family for four generations, stretching back more than 100 years.

“Grandma” Lilian used to sell eggs and meat from the front door. Now 95, she retains a keen interest in the premises that attracts thousands of customers each month.

“I would to bring the award back to Saddleworth to tell her we have won it,” says her granddaughter, Lauren, a partner in the thriving business.

“People always ask how she is and she does pop over now and again. Usually, she sits in the porch, watching what it going on. It would mean everything to her and us if we won.”

A lot has changed during the intervening years including the decision in 2008 to open a shop.

“I remember as a little kid the big tables in the front living room with eggs ready for when people knocked on the door,” recalled Lauren.

“But there was always something happening to the industry that made it hard for us.

“It got to the stage when mum decided we needed something other than just farming to keep us going.

“Despite the recession, the shop went well though we always thought it wouldn’t last on its own; it needed something else.”

From those humble beginnings Albion Farm Shop & Café now employs 30 full and part-time staff, selling a massive range of products from home made pies, meat, cheeses, confectionary, non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, gifts, cards and much more.

“We are always keeping things fresh,” added proud Lauren. “We will always be changing products because they do end up in the supermarkets. We want products customers can’t buy elsewhere.”

To vote for Albion Farm Shop & Café go to Voting closes on October 31. The winners will be announced on April 24, 2017.


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