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Beckenham couple host food festival to mark anniversary of dream deli opening

PUBLISHED: 12:06 04 October 2013 | UPDATED: 12:42 04 October 2013

Television presenter Michael Underwood cuts the cheese at the official opening of Holwood Farm with owners Gary Mercer, Sarah Clour and fellow presenter Angelica Bell.

Television presenter Michael Underwood cuts the cheese at the official opening of Holwood Farm with owners Gary Mercer, Sarah Clour and fellow presenter Angelica Bell.

Manu Palomeque

A Beckenham couple will celebrate a year of running their dream business on Saturday, as Keston's Holwood Farm Shop hosts a free Festival of Food.

Gary Mercer and Sarah Clout opened the deli last year after they were frustrated by the lack of local, Kentish food available at supermarkets.

They bought the historic Holwood Farm in 2008, ditching careers in IT, and spent four years turning the site from a derelict wood heap to a spacious and thriving home for local produce.

Customers will be able taste-test food and drink from some of Kent’s top artisan producers at the shop, in New Road Hill, on Saturday – including cheese makers, brewers, bakers and farmers.

Owner Gary said: “Come and taste the Garden of England. It promises to be a harvest festival of flavours where you can sample speciality food, meet the producers behind your favourite foods and take home a bagful of goodies.”

The pair were featured in the Times last year when the store opened, and admitted to worries over working together for the first time.

Speaking then, Gary added: “We were a little worried about working together, as any married couple would be, but it’s big enough that we don’t constantly tread on each other’s toes.”

However, their fears were allayed over the past 12 months and the business thrived with a little help from their sons Jack, 16, and Oliver, 19.

The Festival of Food will run from 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday, with free parking. The store and its upstairs coffee shop is open from 9am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.

For more information, visit holwoodfarm.com.

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