New-look farm cafe reopens after extensive lockdown revamp
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
A WEST Auckland farm café, closed for two years, was officially reopened last month by Teesdale MP Dehenna Davison following a lockdown transformation.
Matthew and Tracy Betney began farming at Broom Mill Farm, West Auckland, in the late 1980s, opening a farm shop, café and bakery to complement the business 15 years ago. Mrs Betney said: “There weren’t any buildings when we first came here and we had to put everything in. The café was like a large leaky shed with a terrace.
“We rebuilt the off-shoot building during the last lockdown to provide a different environment for our customers. We do have some finishing off to do, landscaping outside, but it’s lovely to have people back inside again. Some of our regulars can’t believe the transformation.”
The “leaky shed” is long gone. In its place, an oak-framed building with views across the farm’s pond. Inside a centralised serving counter and bar with a display of homemade desserts and delicacies. Mrs Betney said: “It’s great to see customers back in the café again and they’ve all been really complementary about what we have done.”
Although the café was closed during the various Covid-19 lockdowns the family-run business still managed to arrange takeaways for customers.
Mrs Betney added: “We were very popular during lockdown. We kept going with the shop and were well-supported doing a click and collect service. We were also able to do takeaways and will be continuing them as well.”
The business is a real family affair with sons William and Thomas and daughter-in-law Rachael involved.
The Mill Kitchen was officially re-opened by Ms Davison and as well as cutting the pink ribbon she couldn’t resist sitting down to test the home-cooked fare. She said: “I was honoured to be invited to open Mill Kitchen. This is the kind of small, independent business our local communities need. I hope to be back soon for another burger and chips at the café and I wish them all the best.”