Take a passion for raising pigs, a love for food, mix it with a hefty helping of drive and determination, then add some creativity and the ability to spot a gap in the market. These are just some of the ingredients that comprise Corndale Farm’s recipe for start-up success.
For Alastair Crown there was method in his madness. Despite raised eyebrows at his plan to produce local chorizo [a type of cured and smoked pork sausage more traditionally associated with the Iberian Peninsula], and a lack of knowledge base amongst officials his livelihood depend on, he refused to give up. “It has been tough at times,” he confesses. “We had to overcome hurdles with some of the environmental authorities as they didn’t really understand our process at first. In fact, I was told no! But you just have to be determined, to believe in what you’re doing.
“No one else was making chorizo locally, despite it being increasingly well known by the general public and used more and more by chefs. It was perfect to get our brand out there as the fact we were producing something more associated with Spain in Limavady helped to generate interest.”
Since producing that very first batch of Corndale Farm Chorizo at home (January 2016) things have progressed at pace. Undoubtedly the biggest step, however, was moving the chorizo operation from the kitchen table to business premises. “That was the scary point. It required a substantial investment, both in the premises and equipment. It was a big step and that’s were Roe Valley Enterprises came in. They were responsible for sorting out a unit for us and it really helped speed the business up. They also worked with us to sort out a business plan and projections. With the investment we were making, it was essential to be able to look at figures for capacity, output, and turnover. It gave me the confidence to move forward.”
Corndale Farm’s ‘field to fork’ approach, the quality of the product, and that unique local flavour, has attracted a loyal (and ever growing) following. And it’s only the beginning. New product lines are close to launch date, and there are exciting plans for optimizing space in the existing premises.
Alastair was ploughing something of a lone furrow when he began to produce and sell his own chorizo. Just over a year on and chorizo is proving to be an inspired choice.
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