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Demand keeps on growing for smallholders' produce

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 28, 2012

Caroline Weston from Rural Focus, centre, with Adrian and Wendy Penter.

Caroline Weston from Rural Focus, centre, with Adrian and Wendy Penter.

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LANREATH entrepreneurs put their retirement plans on hold after their smallholding turned into an active business.

Adrian and Wendy Penter wanted to put their feet up and spend their time growing vegetables after 54 years in business, but found themselves supplying restaurants around east and mid Cornwall.

The pair had handed over their business to the younger members of their family in anticipation of a relaxed retirement.

"After such a busy working life in the building and haulage sectors, we were keen to remain active in our retirement together and the idea of having a smallholding and growing some fruit and vegetables for the family really appealed to us," said Mr Penter, 69.

"I guess we just got rather carried away with the idea as it soon became obvious we were growing far too much for our family and had to resort to selling surplus produce at our front gate.

"But I had no idea that there would be such a very high demand for home-grown vegetables and fruit within the local area."

Under the name Penter Produce, the couple's venture is now supplying root vegetables, brassicas, beans and salad produce to local residents as well as local markets, pubs and restaurants including The Britannia Inn at Par and The Crown at Lanlivery, as well as places such as the Herodsfoot Deer Park in the West Looe Valley.

Their flock of chickens is now 50-strong.

Mr Penter said the help given to him and Wendy, 66, by an adviser at Rural Focus had been invaluable, particularly for guidance on EU regulations.

They are employing new members of staff to take over some of the day-to-day operations and have introduced a pedigree saddleback pig.

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