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Farmhouse family bakery closes after 30 years in business

PUBLISHED: 05:30 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:57 10 January 2020

Margaret Holland who founded Farmhouse Cooking in Wickham Market. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Margaret Holland who founded Farmhouse Cooking in Wickham Market. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A bakery which supplied home cooked produce to farm shops across Suffolk and Essex has closed down after 30 years in business.

Mrs Holland baking in the kitchen at Farmhouse Cooking in 2003.   Picture: SIMON PARKERMrs Holland baking in the kitchen at Farmhouse Cooking in 2003. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Farmhouse Cooking based at Gelham Hall Farm in Wickham Market, near Woodbridge, began supplying local farm shops with homemade cakes and pastries in 1989.

Such was the demand, the family converted a stable barn at their home in to a professional kitchen equipped to cope with the volume of orders.

Now, however, the family run business is closing down as more people take up home baking to meet demand from local shops and farmhouses, saturating the market.

Margaret Holland, a former nurse and midwife, started selling cakes and pastries to local villagers from a trestle table outside the front gate of the farm.

Apparatus from the kitchen is now up for sale as the family hope to re-structure the outhouses. Picture: JAMES HOLLANDApparatus from the kitchen is now up for sale as the family hope to re-structure the outhouses. Picture: JAMES HOLLAND

As popularity for her homemade treats soared among friends and neighbours, she was approached by Friday Street Farm Shop, near Saxmundham, to supply it with her baked goods.

Over subsequent years, business boomed and before long, Mrs Holland was supplying more than 20 different outlets across Essex and Suffolk including Diss, Hadleigh, Sudbury and Aldeburgh, as well as the East of England Co-operative food stores.

By the mid 1990s, Mrs Holland was employing up to 30 staff to meet demand after branching out to catering for weddings and funerals.

Mrs Holland and her family are hanging up their aprons after 30 years of success. Picture: JAMES HOLLANDMrs Holland and her family are hanging up their aprons after 30 years of success. Picture: JAMES HOLLAND

After retiring, her daughter Emma took over the family run venture in 2012 but due to overwhelming competition, the workforce dwindled to five part time employees and the decision has been taken to close the company.

James Holland, Mrs Holland's son, said: "People are moving on. It was an incredibly profitable business to start with because no one else was doing it.

"It is much harder to make successful nowadays and we just can't compete against the competition. We are re-structuring the farm buildings and will be selling off the kitchen equipment."

With £20,000 to £30,000 worth of kitchen equipment, from ovens and fridges to stainless steel tables, standing idle, the Holland family are now keen to move on to ventures new and sell up.

The former bakery sited at the farm house is now closing after 30 years success. Picture: JAMES HOLLAND.The former bakery sited at the farm house is now closing after 30 years success. Picture: JAMES HOLLAND.

Anyone interested in buying the equipment can contact: woodbridgeflats@gmail.com

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