I met Rich Blake on a ferry. We weren’t going surfing, there being apparently no waves at our destination, but sure enough we scored a rocky right point on an air mat, a bodyboard found in a field and a convenient piece of wood. The island felt alive and mysterious, it was a joyous trip. Rich channels this sort of joy well, carrying it forward into his surfing, lifestyle and work.


Rich was on the road in Morocco when the word Yallah stuck in his head. Buzzing on the local coffee, arms noodled from laps at a desert point, he kept hearing local kids shout Yallah which means ‘Let’s Go!’ in Arabic. Far from the latte-sipping masses and without a handlebar moustache in sight, Rich bought and restored a very old roasting machine, setting up shop in rural South Cornwall.
photo by Lulu Ash

Argal Home Farm is a special place. It embraces the crook of a hill high up above the Argal and College reservoirs. The farm buildings and a purpose-built barn regard a deep valley and big sky, the weather passes by close. It is a focal point for creative talent, makers of good things. Landlord James Smith has a vision for the place, maximum sustainability and a creative springboard, a network of good people who enrich and support each other’s work.


What interests me about Yallah is their commitment to only work with small farms at the other end of the supply chain and to constantly improve their environmental performance. “It’s all down to simplicity,” Rich says, a mug of Brazilian coffee directly sourced from small-scale producers Divinolandia in his hands. “Being here means we never have to sacrifice quality. We set out to build an honest business with a low environmental impact that returned something to source.” Heat for the whole farm comes from a biomass boiler, powered partially by chaff from the roaster. The workshop is powered by solar panels. From ethical packaging to a transparent supply chain, including using carbon neutral couriers, the founders make consistent decisions that might be impossible elsewhere. The result of these decisions can be tasted in the coffee.
photo by Lulu Ash

Of course, the crew work on the time-honoured ‘three-foot rule’, downing tools when certain nearby waves come to life. It’s an unlikely place for passionate people to roast coffee, conventional wisdom would have sucked them into one of the cities where coffee culture (and its eager clientele) explodes in size each year. Yet the independence and outsider status is exactly what drew Rich and his co-founder Phil. Isolation can breed strength, honesty and the freedom to make the right decisions.


There are still a few places left at Brunch on the Farm, Argal Home Farm this weekend.
photo by Lulu Ash