Great Prideaux Farm

Great Prideaux Farm is farmed by John Sherrell and family.

John joined the co-operative in 2014 and vegetable growing is new to him so he is building up his acreage slowly, intertwining this with his other enterprises which include a large beef suckler herd and selling his beef and eggs direct to customers in his local area.

John Sherrell created a box scheme to sell his beef, lamb and free ­range eggs from Great Prideaux Farm in South Devon. ‘I had the idea 13 years ago during the BSE cattle crisis,” he says. ‘All the surrounding villages knew that we’d never had a case and wanted to buy direct from us.’ About 80% of his sales are within six miles of the farm, but he stresses that it would be much harder to do without the support of his local abattoir, which developed its butchery and packaging side, so that meat can be butchered and labelled to order. Thus, his animals go from field to abattoir to cook, cutting out unnecessary food miles. John says ‘One of the good things about a local food web is that it’s fairly resilient, in that if you’re supplying people with decent ­quality food they will stick with you through thick and thin. It’s been a tough time economically, but I haven’t lost any of my customers. There is a great sense of loyalty.’ There is also the added benefit of understanding your customers, as he points out: ‘I know that I can sell X number of animals a year at a certain price, which allows me to plan for the future and gives us stability.

John currently grows a small acreage of cauliflower, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and black kale.