Conversation pivotal in direct selling success
Connecting directly with consumers has allowed St Piran’s Pork to take control of its future and showcase the company’s ‘Happy Pigs, Happy Planet, Happy Eating’ approach. Nick Dymond explains how they’ve built the St Piran’s Pork brand and established a dedicated customer base.
Four generations of the Dymond family have farmed at Trevispian Vean near Truro, with the farm transitioning from a traditional mixed farm towards a specialist pig and arable enterprise in the 1980s. Since then the farm has grown from 120 sows and 300 acres to 1,000 sows and 1,000 acres.
“Around 10 years ago, after several decades of chasing an output-based model, we decided to scale back our operation and focus on creating a business which had a more sustainable future,” says Nick. “This also coincided with our decision to move away from chemical inputs on the arable side of the business to adopt a more regenerative farming system.”
A decade later the farm remains on this path, reducing cultivation, increasing the use of cover crops and expanding its biodiversity. “The pigs are now fed a largely homegrown diet, with locally grown grains added as needed and they are never routinely medicated. We believe balanced nutrition underpins animal health and ultimately makes for a better and more nutritious end product.
“As we focused on farming in a more sustainable way, we became increasingly frustrated none of the work was recognised in our supermarket supply chain,” explains Nick.
From this frustration, St Piran’s Pork was born. The aim was to create a brand which allowed the Dymonds to supply their nutrient-dense, high-welfare, chemical-free meat directly to local consumers.
“We started small, taking just one pig to the local farmer’s market. It took a few weeks of going to the market and having conversations to explain who we are and what we are about before sales really started to come in,” says Nick.
Since then, their customer base has grown steadily in the local area and the business now has many loyal, repeat customers. However, conversations are still key explains Nick: “Letting your customers know more about the product they are buying and how it was produced is really important. This comes both from the conversations we have at the markets and the content my wife Jacqui posts on our website and social media platforms.
“Talking directly with consumers and hearing how much they value the product is one of the best parts of direct selling. Being able to share how we farm with the wider community has completely reignited my passion for farming.”
For those interested in direct selling, Nick advises starting small and growing the business in a way which is manageable. “We now sell our pork at several farmers' markets, through a local butcher James Kittow and directly from our website for local delivery. This is a level we can comfortably sustain without taking our eyes off the farming side of the business. It also allows us to carry on farming in a way we are passionate about, which was the ultimate aim of St Piran’s Pork.”