When A Lake District Farmshop is broadcast on Channel 4 tonight, it will shine a national spotlight on the family-run motorway services business that has been delighting travellers driving up and down the M6 in Cumbria for nearly 50 years.
Tebay Services grew out of a family farm.
It was opened in 1972 after the M6 motorway was built across John and Barbara Dunning’s land – where their family farm still supplies the business with beef and lamb.
They invited the world to a once-remote stretch of Westmorland to eat freshly cooked food and enjoy their upland views.
Northbound was the first to open, followed by Tebay Services Hotel and Caravan Park.
Southbound opened in 1992, purpose-built from limestone and reclaimed timber and designed to immerse visitors in the landscape.
With the opening of its Farmshop in 2003 and cutting room in 2004, Tebay Services responded to a growing appetite among shoppers for good-quality local food.
From the services’ earliest days, the Dunnings had endeavoured to bring opportunity and prosperity to their rural community by sourcing local produce.
Today the Farmshop and Kitchen works with more than 70 producers from within a 30-mile radius of the services.
It champions whole-animal butchery on a traditional butchers’ counter that sells native-breed meats from its own farm and a trusted network of local farmers.
The unique relationship that Tebay Services has with its producers and surrounding communities is at the heart of the story told by Purple Productions for Channel 4.
The four-part series follows Tebay’s team of butchers, buyers, builders, bakers, cleaners, cooks and designers as they rally to maintain the landmark business visited by more than 4.5 million people every year, sharing an insight into the close connections between people living and working in the Lake District and their relationship to the wider world via the M6 motorway.
A Lake District Farmshop begins tonight at 8pm on Channel 4.