Over 30 years in the making the Strawberry Fields brand remains true to its roots and original core farming activities...
THE PICK YOUR OWN STRAWBERRY FIELDS OPENED IN 1990 AND HAVE BEEN AN UNQUALIFIED SUCCESS SINCE
It was not an uncommon sight to see customers walking out of the weigh and pay caravan weighted with buckets overflowing with ripe bright red strawberries. This was all down to the care and pride that the Mounce family and their team have invested into all aspects of their products and customer service. Many people from the area will have sampled the delicious strawberries which have been a feature of Lifton for the past 22 years – now becoming known as ‘Lifton strawberries’. The strawberry field’s produce became a familiar site on the barrow outside the Mounce family home which became a feature in the heart of the village. To the delight of local people, as well as passersby, the barrow remained there for the next 5 years and was laden with a range of seasonal produce.
From this point, the combined success of the farm barrow and the PYO led to the inevitable next step – a farm shop…..but where do you start with what seems like a good idea over a cup of tea? After numerous planning meetings, discussions with environmental agency, builders and not forgetting the day to day running of the farming business, on 1st June 2002, the doors of the Lifton Farm Shop opened to the public for the first time.
5 years on, the farm shop was in need of an extension due to high demand in the restaurant and a greater selection of home produced goods to display in the shop. The two wings either side of the original shop were built.
In 2009 the function suite was built to cater for private events, community meetings and primarily for more covers in the restaurant. This included building a feature bar, landscaped garden, high spec toilets and an extension of the open kitchen.
Through ensuring the quality of the food, produce and customer service the restaurant is very nearly always buzzing and full with happy customers and the farm shop is bursting with home grown and home reared produce with freshness a key factor. The 200 acre farm is devoted to the shop and the core activities continue to stock the shop and provide ingredients for the restaurant just as it did over 20 years ago.
The farming enterprise started with a couple of pigs and the 13 acres being rented.
The idea for Lifton strawberries was born...little did they know!
The first Lifton strawberries were grown and the original PYO fields were open to the public. Featuring a weigh and pay caravan it wasn't an uncommon sight seeing buckets brimming with red, ripe strawberries leaving the 2 acre patch.
The family farm is Lifton was purchased by Jo and Roger Mounce - the start of the farming journey.
The familiar Mounce barrow appeared outside the family home in the village laden with homegrown produce, Adam's free range eggs and the famous Lifton strawberries.
The snack van ‘Crazy Jo’s’ was open to the public.
The land that the farm shop sits on today was bought by Jo and Roger - neither knew at the time that this was to be the perfect location for the Strawberry Fields brand to be developed.
Many a family discussions around the kitchen table - shall we build a farm shop?
Lifton Farm Shop was open to the public on the 1st June 2002.
The first Halloween Extravaganza took place in October with all proceeds in aid of BBC Children in Need. Pumpkin time has been a favourite time of year for us ever since and celebrated to the max at Strawberry Fields.
The first homemade Lifton Farm Shop pasty was made. Using Jo Mounce's secret Cornish recipe passed down from her late mum, Avice who knew that we would now be making thousands of these each month!
The first extension to the retail space and a larger restaurant was opened in 2006.
Our Devon suckler heard was bought and our prime beef was home reared on our farm on the banks of the River Lyd.
Lifton Farm Shop function suite was built and opened due to demand and the need for a larger restaurant.
Adam, son of Jo and Roger married Laura. The featured tractor on display in the shop today was used to transport them from the church back to the marquee!
The focus to become 'greener' firstly saw solar panels being introduced to the farm to help produce the electricity needed to power the ovens and farm shop.
Lifton Farm Shop was 10 years old!
The need to become even 'greener' saw the wind turbine introduced which nows makes Strawberry Fields 100% self sufficient producing all of the energy they need 365 days of the year.
The first Pumpkin Fest took place - an event for all ages based around Strawberry Fields' homegrown pumpkins.
With the success and fun had at Pumpkin Fest - it was only right to follow up with an Egg Fest! A magical woodland hunt searching for real chocolate amongst the wild garlic and the Easter bunny all started off by a tractor and trailer ride...