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Nick Hendy, Langford Lakes Christmas Tree Farm, Langford Budville, Somerset

Langford Lakes Christmas Tree Farm is a family run 40 acre farm near Langford Budville in Somerset. Always looking at ways to make the business stand out from their competitors and help boost sales, the Hendy family, Reg and Ann, and their sons and daughters-in-law Shaun & Trudy and Nick & Clare, opened for LEAF Open Farm Sunday for the first time in 2017. Here Nick tells us why they decided to take part and how it has benefitted the business.

40 acre Christmas tree farm | South West | 85 visitors

Grow­ing the business 

We’d seen how Open Farm Sun­day was grow­ing and had con­sid­ered open­ing before, but in 2017, we had the staff avail­able to help run the event, so we decid­ed to give it a go. Dis­cus­sion with our PR com­pa­ny real­ly helped to cement our own think­ing that open­ing up the farm for LEAF Open Farm Sun­day was the way to go. We were keen to jump on board with any­thing that helps the pub­lic come and see what we do and to share the pride we feel in our farm and our trees. 

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Ear­ly start to planning

As we didn’t real­ly know what was involved, we start­ed plan­ning ear­ly. In fact, it didn’t take as much as we first thought, you just need to do it right and com­mit from the out­set. Reg­is­ter­ing our event on the LEAF Open Farm Sun­day web­site was an impor­tant first step, which helped to con­sol­i­date our thoughts on the kind of event we want­ed. Pro­mo­tion, health and safe­ty and activ­i­ties for vis­i­tors were our three biggest con­sid­er­a­tions. In terms of health and safe­ty, we have always had a reg­i­ment­ed approach, but in the last few years the doc­u­men­ta­tion has improved based on com­mon sense, so we didn’t find it too oner­ous. We com­plet­ed our risk assess­ment, iden­ti­fied poten­tial haz­ards, put up sig­nage and made sure our helpers were aware – job done!

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Con­nect­ing with customers 

We met as a team to decide on how we were going to wel­come vis­i­tors, the mes­sages we want­ed to get across and the kinds of activ­i­ties on offer. This real­ly helped to make us all clear on the rea­sons we were open­ing to the pub­lic and what we want­ed to get out of it, both at a busi­ness and on a per­son­al lev­el. We then put togeth­er a leaflet with a map of the tree plan­ta­tions, what vis­i­tors could expect and the var­i­ous activ­i­ties on offer. 

In addi­tion to email­ing our cus­tomer data­base, a lot of our pro­mo­tion was done through Face­book and Twit­ter as well as in the local press and com­mu­ni­ty pub­li­ca­tions. On the day we were delight­ed we had 85 visitors. 

As a fam­i­ly, we all have a gen­uine inter­est in inspir­ing future gen­er­a­tions and con­nect­ing with young peo­ple. Our envi­ron­men­tal ethos is all based around reduc­ing our impact on the plan­et – we refer to food yards’ not food miles! LEAF Open Farm Sun­day was the per­fect vehi­cle for us to con­nect with the local com­mu­ni­ty, show them what we do and share the pride we feel in our won­der­ful trees. From vis­it­ing us in June, I am sure peo­ple now feel more con­nect­ed to us and many will come back again to buy their trees from us. Open­ing the farm def­i­nite­ly makes good busi­ness sense and per­son­al­ly, as a fam­i­ly, we found it huge­ly reward­ing. The sense of won­der on people’s faces when they saw that Christ­mas trees start off their life look­ing bright green and fluffy was very special.

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