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South West producer hopes for bumper year

Cornish Ducklings

Award-winning local food producer the Cornish Duck Company is quietly confident it will see a bumper year of trading, despite the gloomy outlook on the global economy.

“I truly believe that local producers across Cornwall will win through the tough times” says co-owner of the business Tanya Dalton, “We have a dramatic coastline, wonderful facilities and some of the best eating establishments in the country. With the pound being weak against other currencies I’m sure people will see the benefits of spending their holiday in the South West.”

The Cornish Duck Company, thought to be the first commercial duck farm in Cornwall, offers Cornish bred and reared duck to restaurants and the public across the South West. Roger Olver and Tanya Dalton manage the enterprise on their 165-acre farm at Terras, just outside St Stephen.

“I thoroughly enjoy watching local businesses succeed and my Members grow their companies, building themselves up,” says Cornish Mutual Insurance Inspector Joan Ball, who has worked for the South West insurer for over 33 years.

She continues, “My Members Roger and Tanya have done just that with the Cornish Duck Company. There have been a few transformations of Roger’s business interests and we have been there every step of the way.”

Cornish Mutual now insures the couple for loss of frozen stock, business interruption cover, public and products liability and buildings and contents insurance.

Roger adds, “We’ve been Cornish Mutual Members for well over 50 years because my father signed up to the firm and my grandfather was probably a Member previously. We were running a dairy farm up to 1999, and then moved into agricultural contracting until three years ago.”

He wanted to get back into being a food producer, rather than leasing farm machinery and working as an agricultural contractor. Farmer’s daughter Joan understood the couple’s needs and spent time with both Roger and Tanya when they decided to diversify and change the direction of the business.

The Cornish Duck Company supplies most of the top class restaurants across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly including the Jamie Oliver-inspired Fifteen at Watergate Bay and Michael Caines’ restaurant at Gidleigh Park. They also regularly attend Truro Farmers’ Market to sell to the public. The Company, which won a ‘Taste of the West’ Gold award for their whole duck in 2007, hatches and dispatches around 10,000 free-range birds every year on-site.

Roger adds, “Being with Cornish Mutual is a tradition for us – we have been with company for so long now, but it’s about trust and we know they are there when we need to use them. When I was running the contracting business, we had to make two or three claims and they were sorted out efficiently in a fast, friendly and fair way.”

Insurance Inspector Joan Ball, who has been on the road in mid-Cornwall since 2002, visits Roger and Tanya at least once a month and sometimes more often.

She laughs, “Roger makes a great cup of coffee! But seriously, I make myself available all the time and out-of-hours and that’s the thing about Cornish Mutual – we’re very accessible, it’s not nine to five, but they can call 24 hours a day.”

Roger adds, “This is all about the personal service we get from Joan, its part of Cornwall’s business community interacting. Cornish Mutual has served the farming and agricultural industry and young farmers well over the years and it’s about everyone meshing together and sharing the camaraderie of life.”

Story added 21st February 2009

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