Expansion continues at Hampshire-based Laverstoke Park’s organic farm with the opening of a new smoke curing facility and the start of its buffalo milk bottling plant.
Phase one of a three-stage investment plan in the meat facility is complete, said operations manager Martin Smith. It involved the conversion of a chicken factory and the purchase of equipment, including a bacon slicer, packaging kit, ovens for smoking and cooking and a tenderiser, freezers. The total investment will amount to £9M.
“Because we have only just completed it, we are looking to recruit staff,” said Smith. “We have an abattoir on the site. This is a competitive advantage, which helps us keep costs down - especially transport.”
The new factory produces various bacon cuts together with smoked and unsmoked gammons, salamis and biltong - a type of sun-dried meat with its origins in South Africa. Its output is sold to retailers, catering companies, hotels and restaurants, including those owned by celebrity chefs Heston Blumenthal, Raymond Blanc and Jamie Oliver.
Over the next six months, Laverstoke Park hopes to complete phase two of the project, which will join the farm’s three factories together to provide a more efficient operation.
Laverstoke Park also recently built a multi-million pound dairy unit and buffalo milk bottling facility. “We converted a barn into the dairy factory, which started in January this year. We had the milk bottled for us elsewhere but now we can do it on site,” Smith added.