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30.09.03
Consumers connect with the countryside at farm interpretation centre and shop opens at Heligan

After nine months of hard work to construct a farm interpretation centre and farm shop at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the Lobbs Farm Shop and Heligan Countryside Barn has officially opened its doors to the public yesterday (Monday 29 September).

The £300,000 project is a partnership between AJ Lobb and Sons and The Lost Gardens of Heligan, designed to connect the consumer with the countryside by enabling both local communities and Heligan's 450,000 annual visitors to understand countryside issues as well as allowing them to purchase locally produced, environmentally friendly and sustainable produce.

A £100,000 investment from the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has enabled the Lobbs to invest more than £300,000 into the project over three years. The essential investment ensures the success of a venture that not only highlights issues important to locals and their environment, farmers and their future and consumers and their choices, but also creates seven new jobs and a projected £672,000 in additional sales in the next three years.

Ian Lobb, co-partner of Lobbs Farm Shop said: "We are keen to preserve, conserve and enhance our farming environment and maintain this historic landscape for future generations. We will also illustrate and describe to our customers the wealth of wildlife that thrives in our traditional Cornish countryside alongside the production of quality food."

Kestle Farm, which the Lobb family have farmed for five generations, will supply the Farm Shop butchery with its sustainably-produced beef and lamb whilst a further 40 Cornish suppliers will combine to provide the extensive range of produce on offer.

The Farm Shop will provide a full delicatessen range incorporating Cornish cheeses, cooked meats and smoked fish, a complete dairy range of locally produced butter, milk, ice creams and yoghurts, Cornish fruits, salads and vegetables, a confectionary range, pickles and preserves as well as the all important range of Cornish ales, ciders and wines.

Peter Stafford, Managing Director, Heligan Gardens said: "Heligan has supported the Lobb family in their Farm Shop plan from its inception, because we firmly believe it will be of great benefit to the local community as well as the many local producers who often struggle in today's competitive food markets. There will be real benefits for local consumers too, who will be able to purchase fresh, locally produced, quality food from a beautifully appointed shop with one of the finest local vistas, where you can really 'eat the view'."

Carleen Kelemen, Objective One Partnership Director commented: "Objective One is investing in the region's distinctive qualities which give local agriculture, tourism or other industries a commercial advantage. This project is an excellent example of how value can be added to quality local produce, sustaining and creating jobs in the rural community while helping safeguard the environment for future generations. We're delighted that the project has been completed and wish Ian Lobb and Heligan every success."

Louise Boddington of Boddington's Berries, whose products will be sold in the new farm shop spoke of her enthusiasm for the new venture: "Having farmed at Mevagissey as near neighbours to the Lobbs for generations, we are delighted to be asked to supply 'really' local fresh strawberries and conserve. It is very satisfying to see our produce on sale without having had to travel miles to reach the shelf! The area desperately needed a quality, local food outlet and the Lobbs have managed to provide this. We wish them all the very best for the future, and their future generations, with this new venture."

The £398,473 project has been part funded with £99,618 from the Objective One European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, (EAGGF) which has been equally match funded by DEFRA with the remaining money coming from the private sector.

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Editor's notes:

European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)

EAGGF is one of the four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is making £314 million available to support the local economy between 2000 and 2006.

EAGGF aims to:

Help preserve the link between diversified farming and the land
Improve and support the competitiveness of agriculture as a key activity in rural areas
Ensure the diversification of the economy in rural areas
Help to keep thriving communities in rural areas
Preserve and improve the environment, the landscape and the rural heritage

For further information contact:

Ian Lobb
Kestle Farm
01726 844088

Lorna Tremayne
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
01726 843740

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Jason Clark
Communications Adviser
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
objectiveone@cornwall.gov.uk

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