2019 GOLD WINNER FAMILY FARMING BUSINESS
OF THE YEAR

The Dustow family

Colwith Farm, C.S. Dustow and Son, Cornwall

The Dustow family have been growing potatoes for over 100 years on their 500 acre farm in Cornwall and it is currently run by three generations of the family, Clive, Mike and Chris.

When faced with the loss of a major customer in 2014, they actively went out and sought new customers, which now include a range of Cornish pasty bakeries, fish and chip shops, which includes chef, Rick Stein’s chain of restaurants nationwide, large processors and crisp makers.

“We believe we have a unique combination of contracts and open market prices compared with other potato farmers which hopefully eliminates risk,” says Chris.

In 2012 the family invested 250k in grading and cold storage facilities which has since been expanded to allow for growth of the business. This also allowed them to produce fresh chips direct from the farm and in its first year this investment has paid for itself and is growing in popularity.

This filled a niche in the market and Chris says adding value to their potatoes has allowed them to balance out costs in varying years and ensure they are able to maintain employment on the farm.

Diversification

A further diversification which was spearheaded by Steve Dustow is the production of Cornwall’s first potato vodka which is distilled on the farm and was recently crowned second best vodka in the world.

The family’s farm shop which operates an honesty box system has gone from strength to strength and now markets other farm-produced products from the local area as well as Colwith Farm potatoes which are bagged in smaller bags for customer convenience.

They say their proudest achievement as a farming family has been the growth they have seen in their business over the last seven years, turnover has increased by nine times and profit has followed suit.

“We have made huge changes to ensure we have a future in farming for our future generation,” says Chris.


The judges said about The Dustow Family: The winners had evaluated their business and were ready to take on the future.  Not only had they grasped existing opportunities, they had forged new ones. The family support was obvious, their businesses crossed over on the same holding, they were looking out for each other and this demonstrated true support on a family farm.

On winning, the Dustow family said: “We are absolutely delighted, but completely overwhelmed to have won the award. It was so unexpected. Family is at the heart and soul of our business and is why together we throw everything into it. Awards like this recognise the hard work those in the industry put in. People have to think outside the box during the challenging times we face, but it is rewarding to have an event like this to celebrate that.”