TWO well established family food businesses in Worcestershire are joining forces and opening a new food hall in a well-known local garden centre to showcase the best food and drink on offer in the county and surrounding areas.

St Peter’s Garden Centre at Norton and Checketts Fine Foods, of Ombersley, have established the Food Hall inside the garden centre building and it has opened this week.

Checketts started in 1902 when the great grandfather of the current owners, Phil and David Checketts, opened a butchers shop in Wyre Piddle, near Pershore.

In 1925 Thomas Henry Checketts moved the business to the current premises in Ombersley, where it continued to grow and diversify. It started a fresh fish mongers in 2007 and expanded into the adjacent delicatessen premises in 2011. It also created a coffee shop and gift area in addition to the deli counters offering homemade, award-winning products.

Managing director David Checketts, who is heading the new venture for his family business, said: “It’s a great opportunity to work with St Peter’s in bringing our fabulous homemade produce to the south of Worcestershire.

“We will have a full fresh meat counter alongside our award-winning cooked meats, homemade pies, pastries, ready meals and a selection of fresh, smoked and frozen fish to compliment the fantastic products available in Blake’s Deli.

“All of the meat in the Potting Shed Restaurant, at St Peter’s Garden Centre, is also supplied by us so there will be the same Checketts quality meats throughout.”

St Peter’s Garden Centre was founded by Tony Blake in 1985. It started life as a small garden centre and thrived to become a large, well-stocked and diverse garden, home and gift centre.

St Peter’s continues to grow a significant volume of its own plants and prides its self on maintaining a core gardening offer. Food is also huge part of the business with a significant restaurant and this new venture cements its commitment to promote good local food and drink.

William Blake, director at St Peter’s Garden Centre, said: “It has always been a dream to open a food hall at the premises and I was over the moon when such a prestigious and well respected family business as Checketts agreed to go into partnership on the project.

“We will be stocking a good range of the finest cheeses, fruit and vegetables, breads, artisan chocolates and tapas to compliment the products sold by Checketts and provide a great food offering to our customers.”

The grand opening of the new venture takes place today (Saturday September 10) and tomorrow. There is also an autumn fayre taking place next weekend (September 17 and 18) putting local hand-made produce in the spotlight.