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First look: Family hopes new farm shop cafe will become ‘destination’ for visitors

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:16 08 September 2020

Matthew Russell and Hannah Griffiths are the shop and cafe managers at the Willow Tree Farm Cafe in Glemsford.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Matthew Russell and Hannah Griffiths are the shop and cafe managers at the Willow Tree Farm Cafe in Glemsford. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

A family-run farm shop which has been serving Glemsford since the 50s is opening a cafe to help make its offering more diverse.

Matthew Russell, cafe owners Deborah and Michael Russell and cafe manager Hannah Griffiths at Willow Tree Farm Cafe  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDMatthew Russell, cafe owners Deborah and Michael Russell and cafe manager Hannah Griffiths at Willow Tree Farm Cafe Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Willow Tree Farm Cafe is a new venture for the Russell family, who have owned Willow Tree Farm Shop in Lower Road for decades, offering seasonal produce which is all grown on the farm.

The business is owned by Deborah and Michael Russell, with the new cafe being managed by their eldest daughter Hannah Griffiths along with the help of their son Matthew Russell.

The Russell’s decided to launch the cafe almost two years ago, after noticing most farm shops now offer some kind of refreshments.

Willow Tree Farm Shop is opening a cafe to make it a Willow Tree Farm Shop is opening a cafe to make it a "destination" for customers in Glemsford Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

A survey of their loyal customers received an “overwhelming response”, so they decided to take the plunge.

Mrs Russell, 61, said it had become a “running joke” that one day they would build a cafe on site, and here they are two years on.

“It’s been a huge project,” explained Mrs Russell. “From application to completion it has been around 18 months.”

Willow Tree farm shop is opening a new cafe at the family's farm site in Glemsford.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDWillow Tree farm shop is opening a new cafe at the family's farm site in Glemsford. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The family received a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) grant, as the cafe will employ around 12 members of staff and is expected to increase footfall to the area.

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Mrs Russell said she hopes the cafe will make the farm more of a “destination” for people in and around Sudbury.

“It is all about diversification of the business,” she explained. “Our daughter Sarah recently opened a hairdressers on the site, so we want this to be a place that people come to, have a spot of lunch, get some produce from the farm shop and even visit for a haircut.”

Cafe owners Deborah and Michael Russell. Willow Tree farm shop in Glemsford is opening a new cafe.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDCafe owners Deborah and Michael Russell. Willow Tree farm shop in Glemsford is opening a new cafe. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The cafe is a new building on the farm, which the Russell’s have aimed to give a “warm and comfortable feel”, but also one which is clean and safe in the current climate.

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When the cafe opens on Wednesday, September 9, it will serve breakfasts, morning coffees, pastries, savouries, lunches, Sunday roasts, afternoon teas and hearty comfort food – all of which will be handmade on the premises.

Hannah Griffiths will be the cafe manager at Willow Tree Farm Cafe.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDHannah Griffiths will be the cafe manager at Willow Tree Farm Cafe. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Mrs Russel said: “This is a step into the unknown for us and it is such a vast project.

“Most people of mine and my husband’s age would be shuffling off to play golf and go on holiday, but we have invested everything into this cafe.

“We were looking forward to having a party, but we can’t do this because of the restrictions. However, in the future we plan on hosting events on the patio outside when the weather is good enough.”

Willow Tree Farm Shop in Glemford is opening a new cafe.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDWillow Tree Farm Shop in Glemford is opening a new cafe. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

A first look inside Willow Tree Farm Cafe in Glemsford which is opening next week  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDA first look inside Willow Tree Farm Cafe in Glemsford which is opening next week Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND


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