FINALIST FOR DIVERSIFICATION INNOVATOR
OF THE YEAR – LARGE
Sponsored by: Firma Foreign Exchange
Tim and Marnie Dobson
Chestnut Meats, Longfields Farm, Cheshire
Carrying on with dairy was a no-go for Tim and Marnie Dobson, who had been in the industry for 50 years.
A tough 12-month decision saw the couple take the plunge in 2008, selling up the herd and turning to a complete new way of thinking.
They developed a new niche to rear and sell goat meat, something they had been keen to take on since recognising the concept in Canada. The duo started with 23 kid goats bottle reared and sold at the farm gate.
“We chose it because it is not restricted by land, capital or quota,” says Tim. “Nobody else was doing it, it was a nice product and the business had potential to grow.”
The potential of the meat led the way to a butchery, café and butchers shop, which was opened in March earlier this year. It has 25 farms supplying the meat and Tim slaughters about 1,500 goats a year, plus pork, lamb, beef and mutton.
The business also runs a hog roast company, supplying about 50 local events and weddings each year.
“It has been fun,” says Tim. “I have always wanted to do this and now we are doing it.”
While sales have been successful online, Tim has launched voucher schemes and recipe cards to encourage local consumers to check out the brand and try the meat.
The brand has also branched out to source and supply imported frozen halal from Spain, enabling sales to reach a wider customer base.
Tim prides himself on selling a good product at a sensible price.
He says: “I was very frustrated that there was no room for growth in the dairy business. I was capable of running a bigger business but I could not grow because I could not raise the capital.
“We were stuck in a cycle of price taking, poor growth and boredom. Now the only limit to growth is our imagination.”