5 star rating for Elm Tree Farm Shop

Last week a food safety officer visited the Farm shop for a spot check and we’re really proud to announce that we got top marks with a 5 star rating! But if truth be told, we can’t take all the credit. The Farm shop wouldn’t be anywhere near as spick and span without the help we get from our volunteers.

Anne White has been volunteering one day a week, carrying out a lot of the checks that are required by the Food Standards Agency, from checking fridge and freezer temperatures, to stocking the shelves with fresh delights.

Achieving a 5 star rating

Anne White stocks the shelves at Elm Tree Farm shopWhen asked what she felt had helped gain the 5 star rating, Anne said: “There are definitely a lot of little jobs that make a big difference. For example, last week one of the display areas for growing herbs was looking a little sad and not well-stocked, so I spoke to the plant nursery staff who helped by providing fresh plants and taking away the ones that needed a bit of TLC.

“It’s just about identifying what needs to be done and working with the Farm staff to make sure the shop looks good. But it is a farm, so leaves blow in and soil falls off the veg, which is why it needs such regular attention.

“Also, the last thing the shop needs is unwanted visitors such as mice, so making sure the place is clean and tidy, and checking for problems, is also part of what I do.

“It’s a well-stocked shop with a good variety for it’s size, but because space is a premium, I try to make sure all the stock is stored properly.

“Date checking is also part of the routine, as is making sure the shop is stocked full of healthy produce, making it more inviting for customers. We know that organically grown fresh produce doesn’t last as long as the preserved and treated items we get in supermarkets, so part of my time is spent spotting that limp carrot or squidgy tomato. I think most customers understand that organically grown produce doesn’t have such a long shelf life, but we also don’t want to put customers off. Fortunately, any spoiled produce can be fed to the animals, so there’s no waste.”

Volunteers are invaluable

The Farm staff are always busy working hard; growing, looking after the animals, and supporting trainees, so we don’t always have time to stop and check things like how the plants in the shop are looking.

Without Anne’s help, the shop wouldn’t look as good as it does, and we probably wouldn’t have impressed during inspection quite as much, so we want to say a huge thank you. It’s another reminder of how much we appreciate the help we get from our volunteers.

Food Standards Agency rating

You can view our full rating on the Food Standards Agency website.

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