Ainsty Farm Shop is owned and run
by Stuart and Lily Beaton, both from generations of farmers and stockmen.
Lily’s family have been farming
in the local area since the mid 1800’s.
Her grandfather took on a tenant farm in the village of Askham Richard
in 1940, where Lily grew up and her family still farm today. Lily worked on a pig farm for 2 years and on
a farm and ranch in Nebraska for a year, before returning home to the family
farm to work. Because of the decline in
farm incomes in the 1990’s, Lily left the family farm and worked at Askham
Bryan College until she married Stuart and had children.
Stuart grew up in the world of
pedigree stockmen, breeding and showing some of the best cattle in the
country. He learnt the craft from his
grandfather and father, his father being the first ever stockman to win the
King’s Cup trophy at Smithfield for the best beast bred by the exhibitor twice
in succession. Stuart had his own flock
of sheep from the age of 5 and was also a young sheepdog handler. Stuart took on a tenant farm in his own right
in 1998 and, along with 5 other farmers, began a cooperative to sell their own
meat through farmers markets. The
farmers were all in the old “Ainsty” area, which gave rise to “Ainsty Farms
The first Ainsty Farm Shop opened
in 2000 and quickly grew in popularity, whilst the farming community was
struggling following severe flooding in 2000 and then Foot and Mouth. The need for a market for local meat and
produce was greater than ever. With the
support and custom from the local community, Ainsty Farm Shop moved to new,
purpose built premises in October 2005, selling even more of the quality local
produce which had made the shop so popular.
As the business grows, Stuart
and Lily are once more rearing their own livestock to sell direct to their
customers; allowing their original passion for ‘field to fork’ to return to the
fore and still supporting the local farming community by buying direct from
traditional family farms.
Their deep roots in farming mean
they are well placed to find the best quality livestock and to ensure good
animal husbandry takes place. When the
shop is closed on Mondays, Stuart is out and about on local farms and at
livestock markets, checking the quality of the stock and current market prices.
This means Ainsty Farm shop always gives a fair price to the farmer and
supplies the best meat to their customers at competitive prices.