Otter Farm - Kitchen Garden School and Wine Making
Awarded £40,241, (40% of the total project costs of £100,604) of LEADER funding from Making it local for the creation of a kitchen garden school and wine making facility at Otter Farm, through the purchase of wine making equipment and the installation of a commercial kitchen in an existing winery building. The development of a new e-commerce website will provide the ability to market the kitchen school and wine products and enable purchases to be made directly through the web portal.
Otter Farm (Diacono Ltd) is run by Mark Diacono. Otter Farm began in 2005 with a 17 acre smallholding including the Otter Farm nursery which sells plants and seeds online. The Otter Farm Vineyard is in early production they have wine maturing to sell from 2016..
The winery/kitchen garden school are new elements to the Otter Farm business and expand on the existing activities including the selling of seeds and the development of the vineyard.
The applicant Mark is a food/gardening writer and broadcaster, and he runs courses and events at a variety of locations and is well known internationally in both the food and gardening worlds and has done much to inspire a new generation of gardeners, growers and cooks. His seven award winning books - including winning Food Book of the Year twice - have been published internationally and he writes regular features in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, National Geographic Magazine, The Observer and many other publications. Mark runs courses, lectures, hosts and presents at shows (including Chelsea Flower Show, Malvern Spring and Autumn Shows, Grand Designs). For a number of years Mark led the garden team at River Cottage and appeared on the TV series, running courses and contributed to the sustainable development of the farm and business. The farm has be featured on many TV and radio programmes, including Sir David Attenborough’s climate change documentary, BBC1’s The One Show, Radio 4’s The Food Programme, Today and EPR in the USA.
The proposed project has come about because the large following has led to course requests but they have not had the facilities with which to turn this following into visitors to Otter Farm and welcome them for courses, events and to buy produce.
This project marks a significant step for the business, in drawing all the existing strands together, and establishing facilities that will allow them to process, add value and sell their produce, as well as welcome people to the farm to participate in courses and other events and for them to welcome schools groups.