By Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones
I guess the term ‘a poor boy, done good’ best describes me. I was born in Jamaica and then after my parents came to the UK in the 1950s, I was raised in inner city Birmingham. It was here that my dream to own a farm began, as I, the eldest boy, had the responsibility of helping my father tend the family allotment.
From a family of eleven, living in a small two-up two-down, the sense of space and freedom that the allotment provided instilled in me a love of being outdoors, nurturing plants that would provide much needed food for me and my family. That was the beginning of a long journey.
Unqualified but ambitious and persistent, I talked my way into television, becoming a producer/director for the BBC. I am credited with bringing many of the top celebrity chefs to the small screen including Gordon Ramsay, Antony Worrall-Thompson, Brian Turner and James Martin, before founding a food and drink marketing company in London.
It took me 40 years, but I eventually fulfilled my childhood dream to purchase a small farm in Devon and then launch The Black Farmer® brand. It is here that I keep a small number of cattle – North and South Devons are my favourites – which, in my view produce some of the finest beef you will ever taste.
As I don’t have sufficient space on my farm for many animals, and as a passionate supporter of British farming, all the meat used in The Black Farmer® products comes from British Quality Assured farms around the country.
Flavours without Frontiers – the promise offered by my products also goes some way to sum up my personality. I will not be confined by race, convention or tradition. I have strong opinions on issues such as rural affairs, justice for small producers and giving young people more opportunity. In 2005 I launched a rural scholarship scheme through which young people from inner city communities are given the opportunity to experience what it is really like to live and work in the rural community.
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