Eversfield Organic: Meeting grocery demand the nature friendly way
Nurtured by the splendour in Devon’s grass, Eversfield Organic is stepping up the expansion of its grocery, farming and hospitality business with a new butchery acquisition and plans to open more eateries.
Raising further investment is now high on the list for the family firm, which runs a UK-wide box delivery service featuring both its produce and those of other ethical, artisan suppliers.
A network of pubs, delis and shops, including flagship meat and fish counters in Selfridges Foodhall, also enhances its omnichannel operation which offers 1008 products.
Expectations are for a £15 million turnover next year and the business is a vital generator of rural jobs with more than 100 staff in its workforce.
It began after IT expert Mark Bury bought and converted an existing farm in 2004, planting more than 30,000 trees and reinstating miles of hedgerows.
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With the family, he then developed it into a multi-strand operation with a defining sustainability-based ethos that continues to captivate ever more customers.
As they tuck into top quality meat, veg and dairy selections – mixed boxes are a favourite – their choices have also been driven because of Eversfield’s ‘nose to tail’ care both for animal welfare and the land as well as its traceable supply chain.
Tucked beside Dartmoor, Eversfield’s HQ is on the family farm set amid 350 lush acres where its rare breed herd of native Aberdeen Angus graze and a market garden supplies its inns and shops. “Every decision we make is driven by nature’s best interests,” declares Bury.
“Consumers are looking for less, but better quality, meat. Demand is edging up and now 60 per cent of sales. This has influenced our product categories and what we sell online and in our shops.
“We work with small abattoirs which ensures animals are not stressed and the meat’s flavour is preserved.
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“Our animals are pasture-fed for life. It’s not all about trees, grass takes carbon from the air and produces the oxygen that we all need. We see our beef as a health product.
“The pandemic’s impact prompted people to assess their overall health and this has had a lasting effect. Our boxes are updated every week to progress with the seasons. This ensures we can source as much local produce as possible.”
To accommodate the growth and consolidate supplier deliveries, Eversfield has now opened a packing and despatch unit in Wincanton.
Bury’s wife Emily –“the one who radiates happiness” – and children Anna and Hamish are all part of the business, driving its grocery transformation mission.
“Being omnichannel has been fantastic,” he adds. “Online annual sales are up 46 per cent and it enables us to speak to more customers directly. That’s so important as education about what we are doing is our biggest challenge.”
The no-waste Home Farm Kitchen range introduced last year, combining local ingredients with international flavours, features 30 products from pasties, sausage rolls and chef-prepared meals to bone broths, preserves and stuffings.
The latest big step was last month when Coombe Farm Organic, in Crewkerne, Somerset was incorporated, a move that has ensured employment for all staff and has doubled Eversfield’s butchery business.
And its bank HSBC “looks after us well,” says Bury who is now focussing on opening three Kitchen Farm restaurants at its locations in Totnes, North Bovey and Marlborough.
A new investment raise would be to help Eversfied scale to a £30 million turnover. “That would secure our market position,” reckons Bury, who urges anyone partial to a prime cut to head down to the Dartmoor Inn in Merrivale where the theatrical searing of Eversfield’s steaks on a huge ox grill has become quite a crowd-puller.
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