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Fodder celebrates its 5th year

Fodder – the shop and cafe, at the Great Yorkshire Show ground in Harrogate, opened its doors on 17 June 2009 and has gone from strength to strength.

It is now on course to hit £10m turnover and has exciting plans for the future.

Fodder aimed to forge relationship between Yorkshire farmers and shoppers by showcasing the very best of the county’s produce, and prove it is affordable for customers to buy locally-sourced food.

Fodder was set up by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society with profit from the farm shop helping support the society’s work.

Fodder is now celebrating its fifth anniversary and is looking to the future with a range of ready meals – made from the same locally-sourced food and there are plans to extend its cafe, as well as set up an outside food ‘grab and go’ offer.

Heather Parry, Deputy Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS) said: The beauty about Fodder is that it helps the suppliers and all profits go to help the charity while making local accessible to people.

There’s a real surge of interest in local food and it’s about people knowing where to get it, and also about making it affordable.

There was a perception it was very expensive, and actually it shouldn’t be any more expensive.

But in that summer of 2009, trade got off to a slow start.

When we first opened, people thought it was so nice, it looked like Harrods and they wouldn’t be able to afford anything, and that played against us in some ways.

What happened was that the cafe started to take off, because people thought they could afford a coffee, and that’s what brought people in. The cafe was great, but initially the shop was slow to get going.

It’s not yet certain when or where a second Fodder will open its doors.

Heather said: If we can help more suppliers by doing more in different areas, it’s all to play for, and I think in the next couple of years there’ll be another one, but we need to be very careful because we don’t want to damage any independent shops or farm shops in another area.

It’s been quite a journey.

When I show people round, I always say it’s the best thing I’ve done, but also the hardest thing I’ve done.

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