Trevaskis was established in 1979, when most of us were dancing to Blondie and sporting slightly embarrassing sideburns. Paul Eustice was busy tending vegetable crops and rearing his South Devon Breed cattle, as his predecessors had done in this parish since the early 1890s.
It was after another fatal blow to the vegetable crop, due to a run of adverse weather conditions, that Paul realised the need for diversification. And so Trevaskis Fruit Farm was born.
Paul established field strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries, and invited the public to ‘Pick Your Own’. Which they did, in droves!
The elder members of the Eustice family took some convincing on this new direction, as they had spent years trying to keep the brambles out of the fields, but now it would seem they were actively planting them back in!
As people poured through the gates, the crop portfolio grew and soon the farm had almost 60 acres dedicated entirely to this business! In the height of the 1980s, when the ‘Pick Your Own’ experience was at its most popular, Paul established our flourishing apple and plum orchards, despite the advice of the ‘experts’; vegetable crops were grown in abundance to feed the growing demand in the farm shop and fruit crops were tailored by variety, to ensure there was something to pick through every summer month. Many locals have fond memories of the little corrugated iron hut where Adele weighed up the fruit, and of putting ten pence in the ‘Sin Bin’, by way of accounting for the handfuls of strawberries eaten before arriving there!
Meawhile, the Eustices continued to breed their South Devon cattle, which over the years had seen breeding lines sent as far afield as Australia and South Africa, as well as the rare British Lop pigs - the Bezurrell herd having been established back in the 1890s by Paul’s predecessors. As well as these two rare breeds, the Grey Faced Dartmoor sheep were reintroduced, having been reared by the family over the centuries.
In 1987, however, still not content with their diversification efforts, Adele Eustice created the Farmhouse Kitchen.
The Restaurant was originally opened as a tearoom, to serve the many customers drawn to the farm by the ‘Farm Shop’ and ‘Pick Your Own’. Initially, the restaurant was run by Adele, Charmaine, David and just a few waitresses and kitchen staff. The restaurant utilised crops grown on the farm to create fresh, home- cooked food. There are fond memories of shelling peas on the back step of the kitchen to serve the few customers in those early days!
The restaurant quickly grew in popularity, earning an excellent reputation for home-made pasties, salads, the vast counter of beautiful, home - made sweets and generous portions! Sundays, in particular, were fully booked weeks in advance, as were Christmas Days, Easter, Mothers Day… …the restaurant was usually full to capacity both lunchtime and evening.
In August 2004, after pursuing a successful career in London, Adele and Paul’s youngest son, Giles, found the draw of Cornwall too much and returned once more to take up his position in the family business, at a time when the business was ready for expansion. Having been heavily involved in the farm with his brother George from an early age, Giles’ experience in London enabled him to have fresh insight and was the springboard needed for the family to expand the business in different directions, while remaining true to his parents’ ideals. Drawing on a wealth of experience from his parents, Giles saw there was an ideal opportunity to establish the farm as a centre of food excellence; the restaurant at the hub of this, creating excellent food from crops grown on the farm.
Giles also saw the potential to establish the farm as a key educational resource in the South West.
This gruelling expansion programme began when, at the end of February 2006, the restaurant was closed for six weeks! Assisting a team of builders, our chefs, waitresses and kitchen staff discovered new skills - knocking down walls with sledgehammers, painting, sanding …
Finally, the restaurant re - opened in April 2006. The new room is a mirror image of the original room, more than doubling the number we can cater for, but the lighter wood, greater space and open - view kitchen gives a much lighter, more modern atmosphere throughout, without losing the cosiness and rustic feel that is an integral part of being on a farm!
Most importantly, the new design had the endorsement of both the staff, who felt it was a much easier environment to work in, and our valued regular customers, who returned after six weeks and were delighted!
Within weeks, the restaurant was again often full to capacity, particularly during the busy summer months, when people were able to eat al fresco on the patio, and we have maintained this level of custom ever since!
This year sees the opening of the Organic Kitchen Garden - an education centre, growing over 80 crops, including many exotic varieties, designed to show children and adults how fruit and vegetables grow, using our traditional farming methods. With information placards, workshop days and more of our successful guided school tours, we are hoping to build on our ability to offer an education in the food we eat and how it is grown.
So in its 25th year, Trevaskis is now truly established. It has seen relentless growth but remains true to its roots. Producing fresh, home- grown produce, using traditional methods, is still a daily part of the lives of Adele and Paul, a principle that has been passed on to their family and staff, as the farm continues to expand.