Norton Barton Artisan Food Village
Norton Barton Artisan Food Village, set in a rural location at Launcells near Bude, is home to some of the county’s top artisan food producers. These include Cornish Charcuterie, POPTI Cornish Bakehouse and The Cornish Distilling Company.
Established in 2015, the artisan food village was one of the first Food Enterprise Zones to be set up. Its mission is to help artisan businesses grow, and thereby create more jobs in the local economy.
The food village was the brainchild of Richard and Fionagh Harding, owners of Norton Barton Farm. Richard says: “As a Food Enterprise Zone, innovative local start-ups are able to grow and flourish, using the state-of-the-art production units on offer. They gain practical support to develop and trial new products before they then take the leap of moving into their own premises.
“By offering some smaller units, new businesses have the chance to try out their products without the financial risk that comes from going it alone. All of this encourages more talented people to join our local food industry.”
As well as a commercial base for new businesses, the food village is designed as a visitor destination, with café, bar, function room and woodland walk all on site. There are already nine businesses at the village, with an ambition to grow to twenty.
Thanks to Superfast Cornwall, the food village was connected to full fibre superfast broadband in early 2020, after years of struggling with slow speeds and an unreliable connection.
“The superfast connection has made a massive difference to us,” says Richard. “It’s had a really positive impact for the whole enterprise. Now we are able to make the most of digital technology and the cloud, which means we can streamline our operations and grow. With our previous broadband connection, low speeds and poor reliability were a real barrier to growth.”
Richard explains: “Now we have superfast broadband, we are migrating all of our data to the cloud. We have already been able to move all our accounting and stock control systems to the cloud, together with our vital back-up systems. This saves us significant time and money, while also providing greater reliability and resilience.
“We are now able to introduce VOiP telephony. This will bring further cost savings and enable staff to work from remote locations, whilst using the business telephone number and thus presenting a professional image. Greater use of home working and flexible working will help maintain work/life balance and enable greater productivity.
“The arrival of superfast broadband means that our artisan businesses can now make much more effective use of online sales, reaching out to new customers as well as supplying existing customers remotely.
“A further important advantage of superfast broadband is that we can enhance our online marketing through our website and social media – now that upload speeds for videos are so much faster. This means we can make more use of video. This is a superb marketing tool for us, as artisan food and drink really lends itself to high quality visual presentation.”
Richard adds: “The benefits of superfast are transforming all aspects of our operations. As an example, we recently invested in some high tech production equipment, manufactured in the Netherlands. With our superfast connection, we are able to link with the manufacturers online so that they can carry out diagnosis and preventative maintenance remotely. That would simply never have been possible with our previous connection. In addition, one of the advantages of a full fibre connection is that we can easily upgrade our internet speeds still further in future, if we need to’
Richard concludes: “Superfast broadband is revolutionising our business, opening up new opportunities and enabling us to turn our ambitious vision into reality. Without a superfast connection, I think there was a real danger that the enterprise could have stagnated. Now we are able to move ahead with confidence and plan for future growth. As a result, these are really exciting times for everyone working at Norton Barton.”