Yorkshire Dales farm shop in new hands

A farm shop in the Yorkshire Dales has changed hands.

Fifth generation butcher, farmer and star of ITV’s The Dales programme, Chris Wildman, has taken over the reins at Town End Farm Shop & Tea Room in Airton from Chris and Jane Hall.

The couple, who are themselves third generation Dales farmers, established the business ten years ago this month (April) and are now concentrating on their Town End Farm Cottages holiday letting business.

Mr Wildman, of Church End Farm, Kirkby Malham, already supplied Town End Farm Shop through his on-farm butchery and charcuterie business, Paganum Produce, first launched five years ago.

While relishing the new challenge, Mr Wildman explained: “Town End Farm Shop &Tea Room is already an established and successful business, so I won’t be changing anything until I get the hang of things. I have lots of ideas, but am holding back until I learn more about how the business works.”

However, Mr Wildman said he was fully committed to continuing the farm shop’s long-held tradition of sourcing local produce from local farmers and other on-the-doorstep producers, craftspeople and artists. Chris and Jane Hall reared their own prime lambs for sale in the shop.

“Our supply ethos will remain fiercely local, with traceability and provenance key words throughout the meat side of the business. I am also utilising my heritage and experience as a butcher. It is fantastic that I am carrying on the tradition,” said Mr Wildman.

“I will also be looking to develop the butchery and delicatessen side of the business with lamb, beef and pork raised on our own farm, along with our renowned artisan butchery and charcuterie products such as Yorkshire Chorizo, Yorkshire Salami and dry-cured bacon from our own rare-breed Oxford Sandy & Black pigs.”

Mr Wildman will have the full support of his family in the new venture ““ his wife Jennifer, along with son William, 17, and father-in-law Bill Bland, who now oversee the farming and livestock side of the business.

Younger son, 13-year-old Oliver, a pupil at Ermysted’s Grammar School, Skipton, will be helping out at weekends. Also involved is butcher brother Nigel, who already works for Paganum. Even grandma Muriel Bland will be making scones and cakes for sale in the shop.

Town End Farm Shop also incorporates a gallery and gift shop selling work by local craftspeople and artists, which will continue as an integral part of the operation.

Chris and Jane Hall commented: “We would like to thank all our customers for their support over the past ten years and hope they will continue to support Chris. We wish him well.”

The Wildmans again feature prominently in the third series of The Dales, which is scheduled to begin in May.