Farmford and Co Stall

Navigating the World of Farm-to-Table Food Distribution: An Insightful Interview with Jake Wiltshire of Farmford & Co

In an insightful conversation with Jake Wiltshire, the founder of Farmford, we delve into the inspiring journey of how this emerging Fruit & Veg supplier started during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic. With humble beginnings as a home delivery website to establishing a market stall, Farmford eventually grew into a wholesale delivery service for restaurants, based out of New Covent Garden Market in London.

Farmford’s story so far is one of resilience, strategic planning, and commitment to the fresh produce trade. Jake shares how he built the business, stays on top of rising food prices, and incorporates technology to grow his business.

Adapting to Change: A Pandemic Pivot

Jake Wiltshire, the driving force behind Farmford alongside his brother, revealed that the idea for his venture was born amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally planning for home deliveries, Jake’s strategy quickly evolved when he set up a market stall, a move that paid off during the pandemic’s early stages. However, as restrictions eased and consumer behaviour shifted, Jake knew he needed to take the next step.

Seizing Opportunities: Building Relationships

Farmford’s journey into the wholesale business was marked by determination and strategic networking. Jake seized an opportunity to supply his friend’s chain of London restaurants, Brother Marcus, which served as a launchpad for the business. He recognised the power of recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing in the culinary industry, with chefs moving between establishments and introducing Farmford’s to new customers.


Farmford & Co delivery box

Organic Growth: A Testament to Quality

While Farmford initially relied on organic growth, their commitment to quality products and personalised service gained the attention of discerning chefs. The business gradually expanded its customer base, taking care not to compromise cash flow by growing too quickly. Jake shared that the quality of produce, sourced from bustling markets like Covent Garden, set Farmford apart from larger competitors. The daily buy-in approach ensured freshness, a feature appreciated by both chefs and their patrons.

Software tools that work together: connecting ordering, payments and accounting

“Discovering Fresho was a turning point." Jake says

Jake already used online accounting software Xero before he quickly realised the benefits of connecting it with ordering and invoicing in Fresho. Farmford could streamline tasks such as invoicing, creating buying lists, order processing, and significantly reduces manual labour and potential errors.

There’s also a great benefit in bringing on new chefs; by giving them access to an online ordering platform, they can explore Farmford’s offerings and prices, which boosts trust and new customer sign ups.

Rising to Challenges: Navigating Price Fluctuations

As with any business, challenges emerged. Farmford grappled with rising food prices, an issue Jake tackled by paying close attention to his margins. He emphasised the importance of maintaining both affordability for customers and profitability for the business. Through diligent daily monitoring and timely price adjustments, Farmford struck a balance that resonated with its clients.

Sustainable Growth: Balancing Expansion and Reliability

Farmford’s future plans are to scale operations while preserving the quality and reliability that customers have come to expect. Jake recognises that this growth comes with its own set of challenges, including building a dependable team and maintaining a stable cash flow.

His approach is to tackle these challenges in a considered way: Gradually expanding the team and exploring new customer acquisition methods, while staying mindful of the potential financial strain of rapid expansion.

Closing Thoughts: A Vision for Success

As this great conversation with Jake Wiltshire comes to an end, it’s evident that Farmford’s journey is one driven by passion, adaptability, and the pursuit of excellence.

With its commitment to freshness, personalised service, and a smart integration of technology, Farmford represents the changing landscape of food distribution – where quality and innovation stand at the forefront.

In a world where food sourcing and distribution are undergoing transformation, Farmford’s story serves as an inspiration to budding entrepreneurs seeking to enter the culinary arena. With the right combination of dedication, technology, and a focus on customer needs, the possibilities are indeed limitless.

Picture of Rupert Hill
Rupert Hill
Based in London, Rupert leads Fresho's UK marketing. He has a track record of using new technologies to help companies be more sustainable. Outside of hours, you'll find him watching his beloved football team (Fulham) or reading a book.
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