Wiveton farm shop is branching out...

For years, Wiveton Farm near Blakeney has been best known for its juicy strawberries, sweet figs and tender asparagus. However, owner Desmond MacCarthy is branching out - selling a range of pottery designed by his cousin Emma Bridgewater.

DESMOND MacCarthy is no stranger to expansion and diversification.

The grounds of Wiveton Farm have long provided a wonderful array of beautiful seasonal fruit and vegetables for customers - and two years ago he opened the estate's caf� and farm shop, offering meals bursting with ingredients picked fresh from the farm, and giving them the chance to pick up a jar of jam for their toast the next morning.

Now Mr MacCarthy's growing business has added another string to its bow by selling a range of pottery designed by his cousin Emma Bridgewater - all inspired by his farm.

The Wiveton Veg crockery was designed with the farm's produce in mind after Desmond asked his cousin to create something especially for


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his caf�.

Emma, who divides her time between a home in Blakeney and Oxfordshire, has been designing her hand-made pottery, which is manufactured at her factory in Stoke, for more than 20 years.

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In the 1980s, she began creating the brightly-coloured patterns and shapes - which are now much sought after by collectors changing hands for hundreds of pounds - and went in search of a model-maker.

In 1991, the designer suddenly became manufacturer after the factory which made her products looked set to close. She and her husband Matthew Rice agreed to buy it, and 17 years later now employ about 100 people and have a reported �7m turnover, selling their quirky pieces which brighten up kitchens around the world.

As a child, Emma spent most school holiday running around the gardens of her cousin's farm and lived full- time in the county for 16 years before the move to Oxfordshire.

The mother-of-four says she has always found Norfolk, in particular Wiveton Farm, a muse for her creativity.

"One of my very first early patterns was of some figs that I drew in his garden," she says. "The garden there is one of the most incredibly inspiring places I can think of."

The plates, bowls, mugs, jugs and teapot of this latest collection are adorned with the asparagus and artichokes considered two of the farm's specialties.

The collection first went on sale last year exclusively at the farm shop - which, like the caf�, is open from April 30 to November 1 - alongside

the home-made jams, soups, pork

and bacon. It was so popular, the cousins agreed the range should be more widely available and Emma is now taking mail orders while the shop is closed for winter.

Customers visiting Wiveton Farm

can expect to drink their tea from

an Emma Bridgewater mug since

most of the crockery used there

bears her highly collectable

designs.

For more information about Wiveton Farm visit www.wivetonhall.co.uk or to find out more about Emma Bridgewater go to www.emmabridgewater.co.uk

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