COUNTRYFILE presenter Adam Henson opened a new farming store near Penzance today, and talked about how Cornwall’s agricultural industry is improving.
He was asked by Cornwall Farmers to open its first newly-branded Patch & Acre outlet in Ludgvan, Penzance, as the company looks to “modernise” in a changing sector.
In front of a large crowd, the farmer and food enthusiast cut the ribbon with children from the local primary school and said he was “delighted” to travel down from the Cotswolds for the launch.
“I’m really encouraged Cornwall Farmers has got through a difficult time and turned things around,” he said.
“It’s great they see a future in farming and people living and working in a rural area. I think with modern day agriculture and rural business they have had to diversify.”
Henson, who presents a number of farming and food programmes on the BBC, said the first Patch and Acre site was “beautifully designed” and was great for the local economy.
“It provides a service for not just farmers but local people too,” he said.
“Farming and food is such an important part of Britain and especially in Cornwall. It connects communities and bridges gaps”.
Simon Birch, chief executive of Cornwall Farmers, said it now employs 29 members of staff and was happy to see the first re-branded site in the county’s far west.
“West Cornwall is a special place for farming and our company,” said Mr Birch.
“It’s where a lot of our loyal customers are. Food and agriculture is very important to the local economy and to people.”
He added the sector has evolved and the considerable investment is to “move things forward”.
“The market has changed, which is why we’ve had to change. Farming is still at the centre of what we do - but we’ve had to broaden our appeal.
“We want to take Cornwall Farmers forward in Cornwall - our heart is here.”
The trader has seven sites across the county, as well as others around the South West, and plans to develop many into a Patch & Acre.
Rosy Semmens, from Heamoor, Penzance, is a new member of staff at the store.
“I stated two months ago,” said the 21-year-old.
“I did work experience here while at school and have always wanted a job here. It’s exciting - the new layout is going to make a big difference.”