Name: Emma Tacon
Business: The Tacons
Role: Owner, co-founder of Norfolk branch of Women in Agriculture
“’Local’ produce means nothing without the story behind it. Our customers know the story behind our food and that’s what makes us stand out.”
The Tacons is a family business run by Emma Tacon, her husband Charlie and his parents. Together they produce ‘home grown, high quality fruit and veg straight from the field’ at their farm in Rollesby near Great Yarmouth, where they also run a farm shop and ‘pick-your-own’ business.
Emma and Charlie joined the farm ten years ago, helping Emma’s in-laws turn it from a pick-your-own strawberry farm which he opened in the 1980s, to today’s thriving business which annually produces around 4,000 jars of jam, and sells over 50,000 bundles of asparagus and 60,000 punnets of strawberries to local stockists.
Emma and Charlie live on the farm with their three sons and family life is centred around the farm shop and the fields. This happy mix of work and family is what attracted Emma to a career within the business. Her day consists of running the farm shop, making jam, administering the company accounts, making sales calls, taking orders and marketing the business through social media and other PR activities.
She says; “I wanted to support the family business but also to have a career that allowed me to work around and with the children. I was always destined to be involved in the running of the farm and I knew that if I didn’t create a role for myself, I’d be out in the shed grading potatoes! Instead, I am a key part of the running of the business and I love the lifestyle it allows me.”
The Tacons has been supplying the East of England Co-op for eight years. Alongside increasing overall sales, the relationship, which Emma describes as ‘healthy and strong’, gave them the confidence to expand and to build their brand.
Emma says; “The Co-op brought us this fantastic opportunity of having our products sold in stores across the county, but we realised we needed to make sure customers recognised our brand and associated our products with our business. We therefore developed our logo and our brand so that people knew the Tacons and Tacon Farm. ‘Local’ produce means nothing without the story behind it. Our customers know the story behind our food – they know it is home grown and homemade on the family farm and that’s what makes us stand out.”
Emma is extremely active in her local community, organising charity events such as the ‘strawberry-ganza’, which is held in aid of the local church, and in various school initiatives. Time away from the farm is important to Emma as family and work is all centred around the farm and shop. She found that working in farming and agriculture could be isolating, so along with three female friends from the farming industry, she set up the Norfolk branch of the Women in Agriculture group. The group meet up three times a year to offer support and friendship and to share their work and family experiences.
She explains; “Careers in farming provide women with wonderful opportunities to have flexible jobs that work around families, whilst also building thriving businesses. I love my work as I’m always talking to people, meeting new customers and clients and our children are very much part of life on the farm.
“It’s great to hear that more women are entering the agricultural industry and many more roles are now available to women that may not have been 30 years ago. In an industry that is still more popular with men, women stand out and can make a real impact within their business.
“With the correct marketing and awareness raising, the future for local produce is bright – people want to know where their food comes from and how it was produced. The more accessible we make it for our customers, the more successful we can be.”
For further information on The Tacons visit www.thetacons.co.uk.