Farm shop owner hangs up her apron after 42 years

August 04 2017

TURNER'S Farm Shop in Siston Common is closing its doors for the last time, marking the end of an era for owner Jean Turner and her family, who have been at the heart of the local community for 42 years.

TURNER'S Farm Shop in Siston Common is closing its doors for the last time, marking the end of an era for owner Jean Turner and her family, who have been at the heart of the local community for 42 years.

Opened in 1975 by Jean, her husband Robert and brother Mervin Bennett, a local baker, Turner’s has become known for its range of local produce, cakes, cheesecakes and pickles, which Jean and her family make themselves.   

Looking back at the history of the Turner family farm and farm shop, Jean’s daughter Caroline says: “Bridge House Farm has been in our family for 76 years, after my grandad, Jack Turner, purchased it in 1941. When Grandad retired in 1975, my Dad started selling potatoes to chip shops across Bristol, before he started the farm shop with Mum and Mervin, where they sold just a box of apples and oranges to start with. As each week passed they starting selling a little bit more, more fruit and more vegetables, and it just grew and grew from there.

“Back then, there weren’t huge supermarkets around, and so the farm shop became a key part of the local community – everyone knew each other. I have fond memories of my brother, sister and I as children going to help in the shop on Saturday mornings, lifting crates and topping up the shelves – a strong work ethic was certainly instilled in us from a young age and we are definitely a family of grafters! As Mum always used to say, ‘don’t put off  'til tomorrow what you could do today’, which is a lesson that we have certainly all lived by.”

Following Robert’s death in August 2014, Jean’s children encouraged her to take time to reflect and think about the future of the farm shop, which she has carried on running with the support of Mervin, who is now 80. After some careful consideration, it was announced on Facebook on Friday July 21 that Turner’s would be closing, and Jean and her family have since been inundated with well wishes from customers, many who have shopped there for years.

On Saturday July 29, the farm shop invited customers to celebrate the last 42 years at a final ‘sale of produce’, giving them their last opportunity to take home some of their favourites before the gates close for good. Following her retirement, Jean plans to enjoy some well deserved rest and relaxation, and spend time with her Jack Russell alongside baking, reading and catching up with friends. Caroline says: “Since announcing the closure of the farm shop, we have received so many lovely comments from our customers, both recent ones and those from years gone by. A lot of people have emigrated, but still have lots of lovely memories of Mum and Merv talking to them in the shop – the sense of community spirit and having a conversation with people was so important to them while running it. 

“The closure of the farm shop has had a huge emotional effect on Mum and our family as a whole, and we are so grateful for people’s support. At 74 years old and having worked for most of her life, it’s been really hard for her to think about retiring, but after serving the community for so many years now is the time for her to potter, have some time to herself and do what she wants to do – I think she certainly deserves it!”