The family-run A H Hiller & Son Ltd, known locally as Hillers Farm Shop, is a farm shop, delicatessen and cheese shop in Alcester.

It also has a busy Garden Café, Gifts & Interiors shop and Plant Centre.

We stopped by to chat to sisters and shop owners Sally Haines and Emma Taylor as part of our #Warksmas2021 campaign.

When were you established and how did the idea come about?

Hillers is a family run business that started 100 years ago from a thriving farm growing the best quality fruit for distribution to markets across the country.  The Farm Shop started out with local people visiting to buy boxes of apples and other produce and as time went on it made sense to convert the old farm building to meet the growing demand.

We pride ourselves in offering a wide range of fresh, quality produce with enough choice to complete the weekly shop. As well as supporting the local farmers, we strongly believe that local food gives you a fresher and higher standard of produce for your money. Most of these growers are within 10 miles of the farm shop. When we say ‘local’, we mean ‘local’, as often the fruit and vegetables you buy are picked that very same day.

How long have you been trading here and what makes this area special?

We are situated on the edge of the Vale of Evesham, which when we started 100 years ago was the perfect location to grow a vast variety of apples. The area is internationally renowned for producing some of the best fruit and vegetables still today. 

What are the reasons customers are attracted to you and keep coming back?

I think it’s because we are a family-run enterprise that is passionate about bringing the best in quality local produce and customer service that’s second to none! We’re all about happy staff, a relaxed atmosphere, great service and good food that is homemade or sourced from the local area.

What is your most popular product/service you sell and why?

Our Hillers Honey Roast Ham that we sell on our deli counter and our mince pies at Christmas – they’re so popular we sell those until March!

What new stock/services are you particularly excited about and why?

We are excited about expanding our farm shop kitchen so that we can bring even more of our own products to the shop floor. We would also like to return to our taster days that have been put on hold during the pandemic, so fingers crossed we can hold them next year.

How has your business recovered since pandemic restrictions were lifted?

The Farm Shop has been open throughout with many challenges for our team as they were key workers.  Things have started to settle down now and we do feel there is a return to some normality. The Garden Cafe and Gifts & Interiors are on their way back to pre-pandemic days. During the lockdown we took the opportunity to fully renovate The Garden Cafe which is proving to be a great success.

How important is the Christmas period for you?

Christmas is the pinnacle of the year for us, something that we all work towards throughout the year. Having a successful festive season does give us a great start to the New Year as January and February can be quite quiet.

If you could pick one item from your shop to gift to somebody this Christmas, what would it be and why?

We love to give one of our hampers as they are so well received. We offer a service for ready-made and bespoke hampers within the Farm Shop.

Why is it important for people to shop local?

We take pride in using as many local suppliers as possible – this means we have low mileage when bringing in new stock. What this means to the customer is that the produce that they buy is fresh. Being on the edge of the Vale of Evesham means that often produce is picked the same day – you can’t get much fresher than that. By supporting an independent business our customers are providing for their own community, keeping employment buoyant and ensuring their local area continues to thrive and survive.

What does Christmas mean to you and how will you celebrate it this year?

Christmas is such a special time of year for us. Although as sisters we work together every day we like to take this opportunity to get both of our families together for some festive fun – no talking shop on that day!

In 2022, what one thing will your business be looking to implement at to reduce your carbon footprint?

To continue to ensure our products are sourced and supplied as near to us as possible. We have many local suppliers which we will continue to support and endeavour to find more to add to the list!

Published: 7th December 2021