SWLEPconference2021: The Black Farmer plans a Wiltshire visitor centre and wants to conduct a wedding there
Food and drink entrepreneur Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones – better known as The Black Farmer – has revealed his desire to open a visitor centre, farm shop, conference centre, and wedding venue in Wiltshire – and says he wants to conduct the first wedding there.
At the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s 2021 conference this morning (Thursday) the businessman told delegates how he had moved his operation from Devon to Bumpers Farm in Chippenham, where good road and rail connections to the West and London made moving goods easier.
The opening of new sales offices and a fulfillment centre with cold storage are all part of the relocation project, with SWLEP offering practical help and advice and helping him to access a financial loan to relocate from Devon.
In keeping with the company’s ethos he has made connections with local suppliers including butchers, bakers and – more recently – candle makers to have their goods packaged and sold under The Black Farmer brand.
And he revealed he has put in a bid for a Wiltshire Council-owned smallholding near Devizes with the intention of building a Black Farmer experience.
“People are always asking if they can visit The Black Farmer,” he said. “The experience would include a farm shop, restaurant, conference centre, and wedding venue – and I want to marry the first couple,” he revealed.
Wilfred said he was keen to hear from local suppliers; not just food producers, but also makers of gifts like soaps and candles as his business moves into the lucrative postal gifts market. “Even our cardboard boxes come from the locality,” he said.
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones grew up as one of nine children in a terraced house in Birmingham. After working in catering he landed a production job on the BBC’s Food and Drink show. A career in television gave him the capital to buy a farm on Devon/Cornwall border and he started producing meat products under The Black Farmer brand.
He was an unsuccessful Conservative Party candidate for the Chippenham constituency for the 2010 general election after buying a home in the area. In the 2020 New Year Honours he was awarded an MBE for services to British farming.