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Re-cycle bikes and improve lives

Re-cycle are transforming lives in Africa

Re-cycle (.org) are a Colchester based charity sending bikes to Africa to transform lives. And through a Suffolk-based friend involved with the charity, we buy our bikes, which in turn helps raise funds. 

Re-cycle take unwanted bikes and ship them to partners in Africa who run bicycle projects, refurbishing, distributing and maintaining bikes, running bicycle maintenance workshops and teaching courses in safe riding. 
 
In 2019 Re-cycle sent over 10,500 bicycles to Africa. Spadge Hopkins has been collecting and receiving bikes for Re-cycle since 2016. When he has a decent amount, another volunteer comes to collect the bikes in a lorry.
 
Bikes being delivered at Snape by Re-cycle
Bikes being delivered to Snape Maltings by Spadge for Re-cycle
 
In addition to that, he restores and services bikes for re-sale here. Spadge services all our bikes for Woodfarm Barns and Woodfarm Barges, and supplies us when we need new ones. You can see some being dropped off to our Barge ‘Onderneming’, at Snape Maltings in this pic.
 
Transport is either non-existent or prohibitively expensive for the majority of people in Africa. Simple, affordable transport generates income and improves lives. In the UK, we are throwing bikes away while millions of people in Africa are forced to walk for hours just to get to school or work. A bicycle can make arduous journeys carrying water, crops or firewood more bearable.
 
The patron of Re-cycle is British Olympian Chris Boardman and they also have Halfords on board, accepting bikes at some of their stores. Once the bikes arrive at the Re-cycle warehouse they are checked, prepped and loaded into containers.
 
Spadge Hopkins; Artist and Re-cycle volunteer
Spadge Hopkins; Artist and Re-cycle volunteer
 
For a significant birthday (he won’t say which!) Spadge went to Gambia to train mechanics and work on bikes with them. Since he started he has collected over 2000 bikes just from around his base in Framlingham. To learn more have a peek at re-cycle.org and to donate locally to Woodfarm, give Spadge a call on 07831 843922.
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Deli Hamper on your Suffolk Holiday?

Deli Hampers from Earsham Street Deli

If a mouthwatering Deli Hamper would be the perfect icing on the cake during your stay with us, then we’ve got it covered for you, with an amazing range from the best in Suffolk: The award-winning Earsham Street Deli

We’ve been working with Michelle and the team for years, as they’ve been supplying Deli Hamper greatness to delighted Woodfarm Guests. We only like to give you the best!

And to celebrate the expansion of the Woodfarm brand into Tuscany, Michelle has comes up trumps (yet again!) with a wonderful new range of options for your Suffolk holiday, combining the best of Suffolk, with the best of Italy. I’m actually writing this about 6am and am now starving!!!

Deli Hamper Delights from The Earsham Street Deli….

A Slice of Suffolk… £30.00

Deli Hamper 'A slice of Suffolk'
‘A Slice of Suffolk’

A snippet of some of Suffolk’s outstanding produce for you to enjoy whilst you’re here or to take home and savour whilst you dream of returning…

Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate bar from Harris and James

Suffolk Gold Blend teabags from Butterworths

Seasonal jam from Burch and Suffolk

Scarlett and Mustard’s Red Onion Marmalade

Stokes Tomato Ketchup

Baron Bigod Brie, from Fen Farm Dairy

 

Barges or Barns Carpet Picnic… £45.00

Deli Hamper 'Barges or Barns Carpet Picnic'
‘Barges or Barns Carpet Picnic’

When there’s no need to leave the comfort of the Woodfarm experience and you just want to kick back, relax and graze…

Baron Bigod Brie from Fen Farm Dairy

Black Bomber waxed mature cheddar style cheese

Olive Oil and Sea Salt Crackers

Apricot, Pistachio and Sunflower Seeds Toasts for Cheese

Scarlett and Mustard’s Chilli Jam

Candi’s Chutney’s Onion Marmalade

Charcuterie Selection Pack from Marsh Pig Salami

Cherry Peppers stuffed with Ricotta

Mixed Pitted Olives Rosemary and Garlic

Inspired by Woodfarm Tuscany… £65.00

Suffolk Deli Hamper
‘Inspired by Woodfarm Tuscany’

You may be staying in stunning Suffolk this time but this selection is inspired by the exciting new Woodfarm Tuscany expansion…

Pecorino and Hazelnut Savouries

Parmesan Tongue Biscuits

Red peppers stuffed with Ricotta

Fig fruit purée for cheese

8 year aged Balsamic Vinegar

Rosemary and Garlic infused Yare Valley Rapeseed Oil

White Truffle Infused Oil from The Truffle Hunter

Conchiglie air dried durum wheat pasta

Basilico organic Pasta Sauce

Thyme and Bay Marinated Olives from Silver and Green

Espresso Latino blend ground coffee from Butterworths

Monty Bojangles Cocoa Dusted Truffles

Percy’s Chocolate and Almond Thins

To order any of these, please contact Michelle directly as we don’t get involved and add any money for ourselves. Between us we’ll make sure we have your hamper ready and waiting on your Barge or in your Barn.

Or…. why not go and visit whilst you are staying with us and pick your own treats? Earsham Street Deli are one of our lovely ‘Preferred Partners’ and will give you a 10% Discount when you take your VIP Rewards Card in! If you call in advance I’m sure Michelle would be happy to look after you.

Earsham Street Delicatessen
51 Earsham Street,
Bungay,
Suffolk,
NR35 1AF

Tel: 01986 894 754
Email: foodgloriousfood@earshamstreetdeli.co.uk

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The Grundisburgh Dog near Woodfarm Barges & Barns

Dog treats at The Grundisburgh Dog

The Grundisburgh Dog just happens to be a Dog-Friendly Pub & Restaurant, smack bang in the middle of the ‘Woodfarm Barge & Barn Triangle’. What’s not to love?

Yep, draw a line from Woodfarm Barns to ‘Twee Gebroeders’, our Barge in Woodbridge, then on to ‘Onderneming’, our Barge in Snape, and then back again. That’s the Woodfarm Triangle, and it just happens to have a fab, Award-Winning, Dog-Friendly pub in the middle. So whether you’re staying aboard a Barge or in a Barn, the Grundisburgh Dog has it covered.

The Grundisburgh Dog
The front garden of the Grundisburgh Dog

Eilir and Charles Rogers are the owners and they really focus on the quality of the food and drink, along with a passion for making their customers happy. As I write this in May 2019, they’ve just been awarded ‘Pub of the Year’ in the ‘Eat Suffolk, Food & Drinks Awards‘, and deservedly so! Not only that but they won a National Award in 2018, that of “Best Dog-Friendly Pub”!!

The Grundisburgh Dog
Winners of Pub of the Year, The Grundisburgh Dog

A large proportion of our guests, whether it’s Barges or Barns, are dog owners, so it’s great when we can recommend the very best that Suffolk has to offer our four-legged friends. And the aptly named Grundisburgh Dog really hits the spot! They have doggy treats and a doggy menu, to go along with their very inclusive approach to welcoming dogs.

The Grundisburgh Dog
Fish n Chips at The Grundisburgh Dog

And the food is fabulous too! There’s an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu as Eilir is a vegan. Though not strictly one myself, I follow a predominantly plant based diet and I can thoroughly recommend the vegan and veggie menu. The menu is very varied and they have a wonderful wood-fired pizza oven, as well as a very seasonal selection, with a real emphasis on local produce. They do great steaks (so I’m told), burgers, curries etc, as well as a number of fish dishes. They have a lunch and full restaurant menu, as well as light bites and bar snacks. And their puddings are really good, with some great vegan options too!

Great food at The Grundisburgh Dog
Great food at The Grundisburgh Dog

So as I said, what’s not to love?!

Please note they are closed on Mondays. Being this good takes it’s toll and they need a rest! Please book ahead to avoid disappointment. They do lunch until 2pm Tue to Fri (2.30pm on Sat and then all day on a Sunday)

The Green
Grundisburgh
Suffolk
IP13 6TA

01473 735267

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Pet Portraits on location with you

Pet portraits to suit you

Pet portraits is something I know nothing about. It’s best to leave that to the experts and here’s a little piece about one of them.

Pet portraits on locationDetheo Photography was founded in 2010 by Maria Michael. I met Maria at a show we were both promoting our businesses. It was clear that we had a similar ethos towards what we do and the customers we serve. Us with our holiday cottages and barges, and Maria promoting her pet portraits.

I saw the quality of Maria’s work and as she comes to you, I thought it might be useful to let our guests and readers know about what she doe. So I asked her for some info for you.

Maria is a Specialist Pet Photographer, for all pets and livestock, large and small. The pet portrait sessions are usually on-location, in places such as a forest, woodland or on a beach.

Each one is carefully planned to ensure it caters for the specific requirements of the clients and their pets.

These sessions are not exclusive to just animals. Sessions are perfect for families, or individuals with their pets.

So if you want cute dog pictures, with or without you in them, then here’s the answer.

Pet portraits of your dogsOver the years Detheo Photography has gained a reputation for working with nervous / reactive pets. Particularly those owners have felt it was not possible to find a professional photographer to photograph them.

Her aim is to capture the very essence of an animal’s personality and characteristics, preserving those special memories and ensuring they will continue to be treasured, for a lifetime.

As a guide for you – Weekday Sessions are £100, Weekend Sessions are £140, which includes;

*A planning meeting at the office for those that want it, or a telephone consultation before the session

*The session itself which last about 1- 2 hours and reasonable mileage

*Professional Image Editing

*A Viewing & Ordering Session at the office in Bishops Stortford (we offer evening and weekend appointments)

*An online password protected gallery, activated after the Viewing & Ordering Session.

The pet portraits are available to purchase separately. She adopts a strict No Pressure Sales policy, meaning clients are never obligated to purchase anything other than what they chose too.

So if you’d like to have a chat with Maria about your next pet portraits then click HERE to go to her website.

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The Hog & Hen Farm Shop

The Hog & Hen Farm Shop

A great new local business has opened up near Woodfarm Barns, called The Hog & Hen Farm Shop, supplying tons of fab Suffolk produce!

The Hog & Hen Farm Shop team

Before you read on, we get lots of calls from people who have Googled the Hog & Hen and found this article. We don’t physically work with them, we just think they are great. If you have questions please call them on 01449 711933. Don’t ring our number at the top of this web page, as we can’t help you 🙂 

We’ve been waiting for this farm shop for some time as it’s actually the expansion of Mill Green Farm eggs, who have been supplying our farmhouse and barns guests with their lovely eggs for some time now. And on the 23rd March 2018, they opened their doors to their brand new farm shop, which is awesome!

Just a couple of miles away from Woodfarm HQ, this fabulous farm shop is yet another brilliant landmark to provide our guests, other visitors to Suffolk (hard to believe they don’t all stay here I know!) and most importantly, the local community. It’s so nice that we are all able to tap into proper produce more and more these days, without having to rely on the supermarkets.

Farm Shop eggs from the Hog & HenWe are blessed to have a number of farm shop options but the Hog & Hen is now our closest and Nathan, Luke and the team have done an amazing job in setting it up. There is a superb mix of local produce, as well as really interesting food and drink from further afield too.

Much of the meat is very local and certainly the ‘Hen’ side of the farm shop couldn’t be any more local as the chicken are all free range, corn fed and raised right there on the farm so they come a maximum of 150 metres to the shop!

Farm Shop fruit and vegThey stock meat from our friends Palfrey & Hall who supply our lovely bacon, as well as a number of other Suffolk suppliers too. The Suffolk Pate company feature in the farm shop too, as does the Bakehouse in Woodbridge.

There are also local fruit and vegetables, cheeses, chutneys, sauces etc, as well as some local pottery and gifts.

The decor in the farm shop is just brilliant, with most of the work having been carried by the guys and it really has a very cosy, rustic feel to it. At the time of writing the farm shop is just opening on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but hopefully they’ll take off very deservedly and be able to open more. We wish them all the very best of luck

Great Farm Shop goodiesYou can see their Facebook page here

Or better still head down to see them and grab yourselves some lovely local treats.

Mill Green Farm
Debenham road
Stonham Aspal
IP14 6BZ
Tel: 01449 711933

We do get lots of calls from people who have Googled the Hog & Hen and found this article. We don’t physically work with them, we just think they are great. If you have questions please call them on 01449 711933. Don’t ring our number at the top of this web page, as we can’t help you 🙂 

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Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses ‘Milking’ Technology

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses producing amazing milk

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses are based just around the corner from Woodfarm Central and our guests  have been enjoying their wares since we opened. But now it’s even more exciting!

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses gangJason and Katharine Salisbury are based at Whitegate Farm, Creeting St Mary, IP6 8PG. There is a white gate at the entrance and not only that, Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses also do exactly what they say on the tin! They have a herd of over 50 cows helping them produce the renowned Suffolk Gold & Suffolk Blue, made using traditional methods by Katharine. Jason just talks to the cows all day long and plays with his amazing robotic milking system 🙂

You can buy the products directly from Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses and you’ll also see them in a number of local Delis (Earsham Street Deli and The Deli at the Chilli Farm both stock it) as well as farmer’s markets, farm shops and restaurants.

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses Suffolk GoldSuffolk Gold is a creamy semi-hard farmhouse cheese, with a rich golden colour. Perfect with oatcakes or an apple (I concur)

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses Suffolk BlueSuffolk Blue is a creamy lightly blue-veined cheese. Whilst the appearance of the blue veining changes with the seasons, the depth of flavour stays the same

We used Suffolk Gold for the years that we held our Pop-Up Restaurant in Woodfarm House and it went down a storm with our diners enjoying the cheese course supplied by Earsham Street Deli.

One of the girls at Suffolk Farmhouse CheesesThe really exciting thing now though is that they have the most amazing robotic milking system, which enhances the welfare of the cows and makes life easier for a farmer! I was invited down to take a look and was genuinely wowed by the whole process. And the great thing is that they have a viewing bay for customers to simply walk in and see the milking in action during the day. It’s fascinating for kids of all ages (this kid was 53 at the time of viewing!)

Hopefully my little videos (below) will give you an insight into the process but do go down and see for yourself and pick up some milk and cheese whilst you are there.

The cows, (having initially been trained where to get food from) simply come in whenever they like as they get fed throughout the process. Each cow has been set up on the system so the ‘robot’ knows where their udders and teats are! A camera then locates the teats and washes them, before applying the milking device. Their yield is recorded electronically for each teat and it even shows you the expected yield beforehand! It then stops when they have given the milk they are going to give, the feeder stops giving them food and out they go, making way for the next cow. It really is fascinating to watch so please do pay them a visit whilst you are with us. It’s a bit further from the Barges but well worth it!

You can then buy seriously fresh milk from their amazing vending machine, and the taste is incredible! The shelf-life of the milk is one week from purchase. They are currently producing around a staggering 700 litres per day but most of this is used for cheesemaking. Only a small proportion is sold via the milk vending machine.

We are very grateful that Jason and Katharine have agreed for Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses to be one of our Preffered Partners too. See that blog for more info on all of the wonderful local businesses, including the two Delis mentioned, giving extra love to Woodfarm Guests.

 

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The Barn.co at Friday Street

The Barn.co at Friday Street

The-Barn.co at Friday Street is an amazing barn full of unique furniture, gifts and art, along the Suffolk Coast. And you can grab a 10% Discount as a Woodfarm Guest too!

Ironwork Pig at the Barn.co in Friday Street

Friday Street farm shop is well a visit if you are heading along the coast from our Barns or Barges, which is how I came across The Barn.co

There are so many shops that sell ‘upcycled’ goods as we all know but this is a really unique one with a fabulous range of the above, as well as lots of hand-crafted gifts, soft-furnishings and art. I absolutely loved this pig and wanted it for the Barns but I couldn’t justify buying it to myself as there are more guitars I need first but it is so striking!

Garden ornaments from The Barn.co Friday Street

They are based in Friday Street near Aldeburgh on the Friday Street Farm and are just tucked around the back. I discovered them whilst at the farm shop and noticed them as they had some amazing iron sculptures of animals outside.

Venturing inside was so exciting as they sell so many unique pieces, as opposed to the run of the mill items that one sees in so many shops nowadays.

I picked some sweet little garden ornaments for the grounds at Woodfarm Barns but they have all sorts of things for home, garden and the office.

Interiors at The Barn.co Friday StreetThey have some great lines of bespoke furniture, and will work to your specifications. I met Tony there who is responsible for some fabulous pieces

So do make a point of visiting Friday Street Farm Shop when you’re having a day out and call in at The-Barn.co and as one of our ‘Preferred Partners’ you can get a 10% Discount just for being a Woodfarm Barns or Barges Guest! See our page all about this here 

They are big on Instagram so do follow them here

Do have a look at their website (They are in the process of having a new one made) or call them on 01728 652159 or email tony@the-barn.co

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Our preferred Suffolk Business partners

Suffolk Business Partners

For years now we have strived to bring you, and continue to do so, the very best from the Suffolk business community to ensure that you are aware of all our favourite pubs, restaurants, delis, coffee shops, farm shops, independent retailers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers etc. And now we’ve upped the game a little for you!

We have been in touch with a number of our preferred Suffolk Business partners nearby to see if they would show their appreciation for your custom by offering a little extra and they have!

When you are staying in our Barns or Barges we will give you a ‘Preferred Partners’ card for you to present to the wonderful Suffolk Business people on this list and get your ‘little extra’.

Hopefully this list will grow but we will always keep it nice and exclusive to just bring you our best local suppliers. So, in no particular order at all;

Suffolk Business Partner the Earsham Street DeliEarsham Street Deli
Superb, award-winning Deli in Bungay offering a 10% discount to all Woodfarm guests

An amazing range of cheeses, meats and mouth-watering foodie treats from the best in the county (the award says it all)

They also do fab coffee too so make sure you call in when you’re visiting Bungay.

Suffolk Business Partner the HighwaymanThe Highwayman

Fab local pub on the A140 offering 10% Discount on food bill (minimum of two courses)

Plus….. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday a special menu-two courses for £13.95 and three courses for £16.95.

Owned by David & Olga Parry, providing fantastic, home-cooked food using lots of local ingredients, as well as some great local brews too!

Suffolk Business Partner Suffolk Farmhouse CheesesSuffolk Farmhouse Cheeses

Established in 2004 by Jason and Katharine Salisbury, and just round the corner down the A140, offering our guests 10% discount in their farm shop.

They produce fine hand-made cheeses and other dairy products using traditional methods, from their own herd of pedigree Guernseys. They also rear their own beef and pork.

Why not pop down, pick up some cheese, and have a look at their Robotic Milking System in action?

Suffolk Business Partner DoodledalesDoodledales
Great pet shop round the corner offering a Free treat bag with every purchase.
Probably the newest Suffolk Business on our list and a real passion for owner Jessy and her mum. They stock a fabulous range of dog treats and accessories, including lots that they make themselves.

They also very kindly supply our dog-treat bags for Woodfarm Barns K9 guests.

Palfrey & Hall

Our Suffolk Business Partners Palfrey and HallArtisan Butchery based round the corner in Debenham and suppliers of our very popular smoked back bacon.

Sean Palfrey and Deaglan Hall  offer a bespoke cutting, curing and smoking service to local smallholders, and produce their own range of quality meat for private and trade customers, including us!

They have a fabulous shop in the heart of Debenham and are offering our guests half a dozen proper, outdoor bred, traditional pork sausages when you spend over £25.

Suffolk Business partner Honey and Harvey
Honey & Harvey
Amazing coffee shop in Woodbridge and possibly my favourite coffee shop anywhere in the world! We have a lovely offer from them for Woodfarm guests;

Free hot drink when you order a breakfast or a free cold drink when you order lunch. So why not treat yourselves to breakfast or lunch at this very popular eatery when you’re staying with us? They serve an amazing range of fresh salads, quiches etc, as well as fabulous home-made cakes and savouries and superb coffee.

Lucy Jane Flowers

Suffolk Business partner Lucy at work in The GranaryKinda does what it says on the tin!

Based in Debenham, Lucy has been putting together bouquets for our guests since she opened in 2015 and they always go down really well.

Offering our guests a 10% Discount PLUS Free Delivery to Woodfarm Barns, so your flowers can be waiting for your loved one if you are celebrating whilst you’re staying at Woodfarm Barns, or simply want to tell someone you love them (aaaah)

Here she is putting together an amazing display for a proposal in the Granary Barn in 2017. (She said yes!)

The Barn.co at Friday Street
The Barn.co
As the name suggests it’s a Barn. But it’s crammed full of wonderful and unique items of furniture, gifts, crafts and artwork. Based at Friday Street, near Aldeburgh they offer a 10% Discount to Woodfarm Guests

They really do have an interesting range of very different things so well worth a visit as most of our guests head to Aldeburgh. It’s an easy trip from Twee Gebroeders in Woodbridge loads of our Barns guests go over that way too.

Click here for our Barn Co blog post…

Suffolk Business Partner Hog and Hen

Hog and Hen Farm Shop

As of March 2018 this is a brand new enterprise, set up as an expansion of Mill Green Farm, where we get our delicious eggs for the breakfast baskets at the barns. They’re offering a mouth-watering jar of Suffolk Honey from Hill Farm in Heveningham with every £25 spend. That’s the equivalent of over a 10% discount as this is good stuff!

There is a superb mix of local produce, as well as really interesting food and drink from further afield too. Have a good look at our Blog Post all about the team at Hog and Hen here

Suffolk Business partner the Beauty Barn

The Beauty Barn

Having worked with Woodfarm for many years now, pampering our guests, Debbie has extended a fabulous off of 25% off any Hair or Beauty treatment exclusively for Woodfarm guests!

They are great team, working just around the corner from Woodfarm HQ, improving people’s hair, nails and removing stresses with relaxing massages.

And now you can really treat yourself with this amazing offer.

We will continue to add to this list of Suffolk Business Preferred Partners as time goes on but suffice it to say that there are so many for you to tap into when you stay on our Barges or in our Barns.

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Spotlight on The Fire Station Woodbridge

The Firestation Woodbridge are a fabulous Suffolk business, roasting coffee and providing visitors with a great coffee shop in which to try their wares. In our latest ‘interview’, General Manager Jacqui Grimsey gives us an insight into the wonderful world of coffee. Suffolk style.

Fire Station Woodbridge doing what they do bestWe asked Jacqui a whole bunch of questions about what she does and why she does it, as well as what she loves about doing her thing in Suffolk at the Fire Station Woodbridge.

What’s your background?

I have always had a varied working life, ever since I was younger, but I have always been based in retail and customer facing. As I got older, I realised I had a real love for food and drink, and so ended up leaning towards roles in restaurants, delicatessens, even a local brewery and now a coffee roasters and cafe.

What made you decide to do this? 

I fell in love with the Fire Station Woodbridge through living here, and then when a good friend started working here, it became a regular haunt as it just has a completely different vibe to the rest of Woodbridge. It’s always been the slightly lefty, quirky place, that was accepting of everyone and had the added bonus of roasting their own coffee. I got to know the staff well and through one of those lovely life moments, I was invited to manage the place. I felt very humbled to be asked to run my favourite coffee house, as my dream was to always run my own food business. 

What would you say your role is?

The Fire Station Woodbridge Roastery and Cafe

My role at the Fire Station Woodbridge is technically General Manager and a large part of my role is looking after the wholesale side of the Roastery, but I am a complete martyr and I love to get stuck in and get my hands dirty. I get such a kick out of interacting with my staff and customers, and making sure everyone is having a good time. So when you pop in, you’ll probably see me making coffee, whizzing around, or sitting in the cafe answering emails and chatting to the locals. 

Is Suffolk a great place to work and if so, why?

You know, if you had asked me this pre-University, I would have given you a proper teenage grumble and told you I hate Suffolk and it’s all rubbish. I now think the complete opposite. University and a year travelling really opened my eyes to how beautiful Suffolk is. I feel very privileged to have grown up here, and to work in Woodbridge is very special. I think Suffolk, and especially Woodbridge, has a great community spirit and a big food and drink culture, and it’s very easy to meet like-minded people to share your passions. And if you need a break, the scenery is perfect to get lost in for a couple of hours. 

What do you think makes The Fire Station Woodbridge out from the crowd?
Fire Station Woodbridge Coffee Roasters

Well, we certainly don’t like convention at the Fire Station Woodbridge. We are very proud of being very inclusive of all ages, genders, races and backgrounds – I like to see the cafe as a big front room where we welcome our customers like old friends. I want everyone to feel like they can come in, relax and put their feet up, whilst enjoying really fresh coffee roasted just behind the cafe. We also like to be a bit different in the music we play, the art we display and the bar events we offer. Previously we have had themed vinyl nights, board game nights, themed quizzes and pop-up restaurants, and 2018’s calendar is gearing up to be even bigger and better! watch this space…

What does the future hold for you and the business?
We’re always looking ahead here at the Fire Station Woodbridge as we always have so many exciting things we want to do! But the short term sees the addition of a monthly quiz hosted by Desmond Sparkles (he may be familiar to some…), as well as (I’m VERY excited about this one) our new Monthly Sunday Boast slot. This is on the 1st Sunday of every month, and we will be hosting a Roast Dinner club! Big plates of wholesome food, beer and wine to boot, so come fill your boots. The future future holds an exciting new venture collaborating with the Artstation in Saxmundham, so keep an eye on our social media for more information…

Which products or service are your personal favourite and what are the most popular with your customers?

I guess it might be obvious, but just our love of coffee. Coffee is our most popular seller in our cafe, both hot offerings and beans. We are always happy to chat to customers a the Fire Station Woodbridge about what we’re roasting and using for espresso, and how they can tailor our coffee to their needs. I’m very adamant that pretentiousness and snobbery – which can often be associated with the speciality coffee world – is not welcome here and I encourage my staff and customers to share their experience and feel comfortable to ask questions, no matter how silly they might think they are. Trust me – no question is silly, we all have to learn somehow!

What’s been your most embarrassing or most humorous moment in the business?

Blimey, I mean I’m fantastic at always being an embarrassment. Luckily I can’t think of anything too major, but I’m very good at forgetting how small our cafe is and that everyone can see me, so I am always singing or doing some stupid dance in the kitchen and then realising that I am fully on show. I do worry that my singing is going to put customers off…

Well us about three other businesses or organisations in Suffolk that you admire and why? (You can leave Woodfarm out!)

Fire Station Woodbridge Coffee Roasters in SuffolkOoo that’s a good question… It might be cheating, but I really admire the Wright Family and everything they have done with the Cake Shop Bakery. They are the hardest working, most driven and determined people I have ever met, and I am proud to now be working with them. 

I would also say I really admire Applaud Coffee in Ipswich. I’ve known Hannah and Beth for some years since working at the Suffolk Food Hall together, and those 2 women have worked their socks off to make a success of their coffee shop. Their coffee is always spot on, and I love their cakes. They are always so smiley and happy when I go in too, and I wish them all the best with their new projects. 

And lastly, I would have to say Old Jet Arts Centre at Bentwaters Park. What Jesse has done with the buildings up their is hugely inspiring, and I always have huge admiration for anyone trying to boost locals artists and creatives in the area. The monthly film Club there is brilliant – where else can you see great independent films whilst eating a Twix on a chaise-lounge? If you don’t know about Old Jet, go and look now – their events calendar is really exciting.

Thank you so much to Jacqui for this insight and for the fab coffee on my recent visit! To find out more about what they’re all about, check out their website and do go in when you’re in Woodbridge, you won’t be disappointed.

I’m also delighted to say that as of 2018 The Fire Station will be supplying the coffee in all our cottages and barges so you’ll be able to try their amazing produce whilst you’re here!

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Lucy Jane Flowers – portrait of an award winning florist

Lucy Jane Flowers

Lucy Ransome of Lucy Jane Flowers provides us with another in our series of ‘Spotlight Interviews’ with the great and good of Suffolk.

Lucy Jane Flowers at work in The GranaryAs the owner of another independent business, I believe that we are the life-blood of the economy and heart of a county. And Lucy is a great example with her fabulous florist business Lucy Jane Flowers of Debenham.

Lucy has been making our guests happy for a number of years now with fabulous bouquets, ordered directly. 

This is Lucy prepping a LOT of flowers ahead of a proposal in our Granary Barn at Woodfarm in September 2017. The lucky lady said yes!

So, let’s find out a little more about Lucy Jane Flowers;

WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND? I Studied Accountancy, and then worked from home after 9 wonderful years bringing up my family I went back to college and studied Floristry.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS? I took a place on a six week taster course with a group of girlfriends, and loved every minute of it !

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY YOUR ROLE IS? Florist, Owner and friend.

IS SUFFOLK A GREAT PLACE TO WORK AND IF SO, WHY? I was born and bred in Suffolk and love the county.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOUR BUSINESS STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD? Individuality

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU AND THE BUSINESS? Hopefully another branch elsewhere.

Lucy Jane Flowers bouquetWHICH FLOWERS ARE YOUR PERSONAL FAVOURITE AND WHAT’S THE MOST POPULAR WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS? I personally love Hydrangeas but the most popular flower sold in Lucy Jane Flowers would have to be between Freesias and Roses.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING OR MOST HUMOROUS MOMENT IN THE BUSINESS? There have been many….. I usually say something wrong to the customers. I once told a young handsome chap on Valentines day that we welcomed him to the Love shop then blushed giggled and had to leave the room ….Ridiculous !???!!!!

WELL US ABOUT THREE OTHER BUSINESSES OR ORGANISATIONS IN SUFFOLK THAT

YOU ADMIRE AND WHY? 

I admire Coes, for standing its ground in Ipswich, keeping their traditional service and values. I also admire Arcade Tavern owned by Ross Keough to sell one business, wait and open another which has grown and become successful in the last few years and keeping people engaged. Suffolk farmhouse Cheeses, another fab Suffolk business which keeps growing and entering shows,  bringing along their children who are learning the ropes and managing to run everything with a family ! (It’s hard work !)

So thank you to Lucy for this little insight into what makes her tick. Do make sure you have a chat with her if you’re coming to stay for a special occasion as she really does put her heart and soul into her work. Check out Lucy Jane Flowers online here