COVID has affected many of our farmers and producers. The Parsons Nose Farm is owned by the Dobson family, who have been farmers, butchers and bakers for over 200 years.
They run additive-free free range rare breed pigs and pedigree Hereford and Dexter cattle.
We asked Zoe from The Parsons Nose for her reactions.
How has COVID affected the family business? What are the main issues?
The business was affected quite dramatically when approximately. half the markets that we attend on a weekly basis were cancelled. We also have an event catering service offering ‘hog roasts’ and ‘sausage sizzles’ for birthday parties and weddings and several of these bookings fell through. Then the Country and County shows that we sell at were also cancelled. And in amongst the chaos our amazing farm secretary had to set up a remote working station and we all had to get our heads around skype and zoom calls.
What changes have you made?In the initial weeks we spent some time on land management of the farm, doing all those jobs that often get side-lined. Warfare was waged on field thistles, and we are hoping the pesky blighters will not be back for the foreseeable future! Produce from our Parsons Nose village shop in Dingestow, Monmouth was in high demand, the local community are very good at supporting us, and we were keep busy with grocery orders. At markets we've had to stop selling hot sausages and our popular wild boar burgers. We are now selling only raw sausages, burgers, home cured bacon and Hereford mince. We are also selling our range of speciality pies.
Have you had problems finding or retaining farm and market workers?Yes, some of our staff, who have been with us for many years, went back to their home countries to be with their families.
What made you launch your online sales?We have wanted to set up on ONLINE SHOP and deliveries service for quite some time and felt that there was a need for it now more than ever. The pandemic has made people value food and appreciate independent producers and we wanted to provide a site where you can buy quality products from the farm gate; food that you can trust, that you know the provenance of, food that is tasty and excellent quality and not bland supermarket food.
Any silver linings?Thistle-less fields! Ha ha.
What are you looking forward to?We are excited to start marketing our website and to watch the business grow. To make a success of it we know it’s about volume of sales and happy customers who make returns sales, so that’s what we will be focusing on.
What kind of reactions have you had from customers at markets?We have already received a lot of interest and love in the online SHOP. It feels nice to be appreciated. It’s a real boost to hear the lovely comments and feedback that we get both on the market stall and through social media.
The Parsons Nose are back at markets; https://www.lfm.org.uk/producers/the-parsons-nose/ but please note that as with many of our farmers & producers there can be last minute changes to stall attendance.
All of our weekend markets are open every week, apart from Ladbroke Grove.
Good news for North West London!
If you're on our email list you'll have noticed we've been asking you to bring your egg boxes back to market to be refilled. Here's why.