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 Dining With a Difference
E&G Butchery and Farm Shop opened on the Denham Estate in March last year.
Melanie Manzaroli-Weaver speaks to its owners, Ella and Gareth Doherty, to find out more.
Located in the heart of the beautiful Suffolk countryside, around 15 minutes from Bury St Edmunds, the Denham Estate used to be one of East Anglia’s biggest apple farms and in the 1990s, it was home to Europe’s largest herd of fallow deer. The estate’s original farm shop closed 20 years ago, but in 2021, Ella and Gareth Doherty decided that Denham would be the perfect location to start their farm shop and butchery business.
Embarking on their new venture in the shadow of Covid-19 was something the husband-and-wife team found “very, very daunting”. “We thought we were coming out of that side of the pandemic,” Ella says. “Then just after we got locked down again.” Due to its rural location, much of the shop’s marketing
so far has been through word of mouth: “We’re very much off the beaten track, so it’s different to being on the high street, or somewhere that’s been going for a long time. But it’s lovely because it’s growing organically, and we can learn what the customers need.”
Ella and Gareth pride themselves on selling high-welfare, sustainable and locally-sourced produce, with a focus on butchery – Gareth’s trade for the last 27 years. At their farm shop you’ll find local honey, cheeses, ice-cream, fruit juices and cut flowers, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly baked croissants and bread. The large butchery counter is well- stocked with poultry and meat from traditional breeds, all of which is reared in Suffolk without the use of intensive farming
or growth hormone additives. The shop also offers a tailored butchery service, through which deer stalkers and small holders can arrange to have their meat prepared to suit their individual needs. The couple are aware that butchery currently faces an obstacle in the form of growing concern about intensive meat production and its role in climate change. “On the super- market side, it’s not given meat a good name which is why we only source from high welfare, low-intensity farms,” Ella says. ‘We can’t compete on price, but we can certainly compete on quality.” Gareth adds.
When they are not busy running the shop, Ella and Gareth are taking care of their very own herd of 300 deer. “The does are all having their fawns at the moment,” Ella says. “It’s keeping us
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