Chalcroft Construction is helping a Norfolk-based organic farm to become one of leading businesses of its kind in East Anglia.
Salle Moor Hall Farm, near Reepham, is a mixed farm which produces cereal grains, peas and beans, fresh vegetables, beef, lamb and eggs, using organic methods.
The Salle Organics business distributes hundreds of boxes of organic foods across the region every week, and to improve the presentation of the produce, King's Lynn-based Chalcroft Construction was asked to turn a medieval barn into a food preparation area.
Although the barn, due to be completed in August, will be used for packaging and processing, it will retain many of its historic features, including existing roof structure.
General manager Giles Blatchford said: “It is important that the barn remains in agricultural use when so many it seems are being turned into holiday lets or countryside homes. The barn, which has at different times in its history been used as stables and a baronial hall, will house the packaging, cleaning and processing facilities, ensuring that we add value to the food that so many of our customers appreciate us for.
“But it will be more than that as we are planning to turn it into an educational centre so that people can learn more about where their food comes from, closing the gap between farm and dinner plate.”
Chalcroft, which has built its reputation as a leading construction firm in the food sector, is working to preserve the character of the centuries-old building, while at the same time ensuring that it meets modern standards of hygiene and safety.
For example, the new flooring meets the requirements of a food preparation area, while the doors of the barn have been slightly altered to enable palletised goods to be taken into and out of the building.
Andy Hardy, from Chalcroft, commented, “This is a great project to be involved with as we have to utilise our modern construction skills while doing nothing to detract from the character of the building.
“It's great to see how the organic foods industry is revitalising the farming industry and how an historic barn is being used as part of that.”
The future plans for the farm include dairy and poultry production, a butchery, and possibly a retail outlet so that more people can enjoy the food produced by the farm. It is also hoped that if all the plans come to fruition, the current number of people employed will double from its current total of 18 staff.
For more information about Chalcroft, go to www.chalcroft.co.uk, for details about Salle Organics, go to www.salleorganics.co.uk.