Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson invited fans to the first opening of his farm shop on Saturday, where he sold produce grown on his 1000-acre farm, Diddly Squat, in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.
Signs distributed around the shop were indicative of Clarkson’s trademark sense of humour, with messages such as ‘Diddly Squat vegetables drizzled in fungicide’; ‘Everything guaranteed non organic’; and drinks with ‘no s**t in [them]’.
Produce for sale included eggs, horseradish and potatoes – which, according to a sign were cheaper than Aldi at £1.02 per kilogram.
Clarkson turned his hand to farming a year ago, an endeavour that is set to be the subject of an Amazon Prime TV show. He announced the opening of the ‘Squat Shop’ on Twitter last week, with an open invitation to followers.
According to media reports, around 100 people turned up, creating very muddy conditions in the car park and preventing some from attending. One twitter user said: ‘We’re gutted, pulled up outside but too muddy for an 8-month-old and a pushchair. But we’ll be back one day’ – to which Clarkson replied: ‘I know. Bloody nightmare. Sorry.’
County councillor Liam Walker, who attended the opening, said: “It was great to visit Jeremy at his new farm shop and see so many fans also turn out to meet him. I’m pleased to hear he plans to sell local produce from here in West Oxfordshire and this was actually a condition for granting the planning permission for this new shop.
“The agricultural industry is really important to us here and I’m hoping his new Amazon Prime documentary on buying a farm will help to encourage more people to buy local produce and raise the profile of farming amongst an audience who wouldn’t normally be engaged. I wish him every success in this new venture.”
Despite a seemingly successful opening overall, anyone wanting to visit the Squat Shop may have to wait. Responding to questions on Twitter about when it would next open, Clarkson said: ‘I need to grow more stuff before I can reopen it I’m afraid’, adding in a separate tweet later: ‘Shop NOT open Sunday as it’s a day for the baby Jesus. Also, because I’m going to Tanzania.’
Since buying Diddly Squat Farm around a year ago, Clarkson has regaled followers on social media with the highs and lows of his farming experience, and last year told the Jonathan Ross Show that he had unsuccessfully tried to herd sheep using a ‘barking drone’.
Despite highlighting the hard work and challenges involved in farming, Clarkson has also frequently spoken of his passion for agriculture, saying in an interview with the Sunday Times last year: “It does fill me with joy, the notion of spending large chunks of the year up here farming.”