Shop Local: Farm Shops

There is a certain feeling about walking into a farm shop, a sense of excitement and anticipation of something new just waiting to be discovered among the locally made chutneys, artisan breads, small batch cheeses and handmade cakes. The experience is far removed from that of supermarket sterile-ness, lucid lighting and endless, uninspiring aisles full of generic goods identical to those from up and down the country from which we mindlessly select the same products week after week.

Many farm shops are now day out destinations boasting not only their award-winning produce but also catering to the whole family with children’s play areas, live music events, supplier tastings, fantastic cafes and the opportunity to feed and/or play with the farm animals. The growing popularity of farm shops in recent years can be seen in the physical size of them; most shops began as small sheds selling only surplus fruit and vegetables yet today they are sprawling cornucopias bursting with an array of local products and often similarly packed with a number of discerning customers.

millers farm shopMillers Farm Shop was established in 1979 by Malcolm Miller and his family who committed to selling a range of locally sourced produce alongside home grown vegetables and seasonal plants. Described on their website as an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of the ‘most sumptuous food imaginable’ Millers Farm Shop perhaps epitomises the ethos of the farm shop. The family run business currently stocks delicious breads, pastries and pies, artisan cheeses, sliced meats and pâté, fresh fish, local milk and creams, artisanal gins and liqueurs and more. Their incredibly knowledgeable staff are passionate about their products and the friendly, relaxed atmosphere generated at the shop encourages repeat custom.

In 2009 Nicola and Rebecca Bartlett took the opportunity to acquire Hayne Farm near Honiton and set about creating Bartlett’s Farm Shop. What began as a small enterprise now consists of a fresh meat, deli counter and butchery, fresh bartlett's farm shopvegetable selection, locally made chutneys and preserves, freshly baked breads, specially selected wines and ales and a thriving coffee shop which was added in 2012. The farm itself provides the majority of the beef and lamb while local farms supply other meats and trusted suppliers deliver the rest of their range. The sisters ethos focuses on celebrating great tasting food whilst ensuring its sustainability and affordability for their customers.

Thornes Farm has been owned by Anthony Thorne since 1986 and the farm shop was established in 1992 after locals started asking to buy the farms famous thornes farm shopstrawberries directly. Today they also supply their range of soft fruits and vegetables to other local shops and wholesalers. The farm shop itself stocks a wide variety of delicious locally made products including a range of Devon blended teas and coffees, local eggs, creams, yogurts and butters, wines, ales and soft drinks among so much more. They also offer a ‘Pick your Own’ service encouraging their customers to enjoy the best produce currently in season and following an hour or so out picking your own food their cafe provides the perfect place to relax and unwind in the peaceful Devonshire countryside while enjoying delicious handmade food.

We are really spoilt for choice for quality farm shops here in Devon and we could have mentioned so many more in this blog. This weekend why not browse one near you, you might discover something amazing.

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Local Producers – Georgie Porgie’s Puddings

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Georgie Porgie’s Puddings.georgie porgie

Georgie Porgie’s Puddings was established by George Hollywood in 1994 originally producing traditional steamed Christmas puddings. Soon the business began to expand and today Georgie Porgie’s produce a variety of traditional puddings as well as steamed sponges on their premises in Budleigh Salterton, East Devon. Each pudding is handmade using the finest ingredients by expert pudding chefs to original recipes and all of them truly taste delicious.

chocolate-orange-and-baileys-group-1The range of fruit puddings includes the summery lemon & Pimms and zesty orange & Cointreau as well as our favourite the decadent chocolate orange & Baileys and the one that started it all, their flagship traditional Christmas pudding.

In 2001 the business broadened to include classic steamed sponges available in four different flavours from traditional spotted dick and treacle sponge to sticky toffee and strawberry jam varieties. The muslin wrapped fruit puddings are available in both 5oz (142g) and 16oz (454g) portions while the sponges are available in single 100g and make a sumptuous treat. ultimate gin pudding

George is continuously expanding the range and this year to mark the business’s 25th anniversary he has teamed up with Exeter Gin to produce the Ultimate Gin Pudding packed with fruit and bursting with citrus flavours and of course gin, available as an individual 16oz (454g) pudding.

Georgie Porgie’s Puddings continue to grow and expand with their deliciously flavoured sponges and puddings made in keeping to traditional methods proving that fruit puddings are not just for Christmas! Click here for more info and to see the entire Georgie Porgie range.

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Seafood Week

This week is National Seafood Week, an annual campaign celebrating the wide variety of fish and shellfish available in the UK. Organised by Seafish, a Non-Departmental Public Body set up to support the £10 billion UK seafood industry, the campaign has been running since 2015 and focuses on encouraging people to consume more seafood more often and promoting seafood as a healthy, sustainable food source.

fishWe currently stock a variety of seafood from fresh smoked mackerel to frozen salmon fillets. Our fresh fish is sourced from Jacksons Fishmongers. Based in Newton Abbot and passionate about sustainable fishing, Jacksons purchase the freshest fish from vessels coming in to nearby Brixham and prepare and smoke their fish on site. We stock their smoked mackerel, peppered mackerel and smoked kippers which are available in fresh 150g retail packs. We also stock their fresh smoked trout which is available in 100g retail packs. All fish is naturally rich in essential nutrients and oily fish such as mackerel even more so making it a healthy food source. Why not try it in a light, creamy pate with sourdough toast or try an Asian style noodle dish with teriyaki and lemon?

Our frozen fish range is sourced from M&J Seafood and includes cod, haddock, SmokedHaddock (2)smoked haddock and salmon fillets which are all available in 150-200g retail packs. M&J Seafood was founded in 1978 and today they continue to work to purchase the freshest fish and shellfish available from sustainable sources. Their ethos is based on no-nonsense, honest fishmongery from expert, award-winning fishmongers. This Seafood Week enjoy an old fashioned fish supper using our cod or haddock fillets or make some fragrant salmon fishcakes with lemon and dill.
To view our entire range of fish click here.

We are lucky to live in a country rich with seafood from River Exe mussels to shoals of mackerel to Scottish salmon. Seafood Week can encourage us to try something new or revert to a comforting favourite; however you choose to celebrate we hope you enjoy Seafood Week.

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British Food Fortnight!

Today marks the start of British Food Fortnight. Founded in 2002 the campaign focuses on encouraging caterers and retailers responsible for sourcing food for hospitals, schools and other food outlets to prioritise locally made produce -something we in turn are passionate about.

With the current political climate the campaign seems more relevant than ever and the benefits of buying British are numerous, from supporting local economy, low food miles and a lower carbon footprint to the trace-ability and welfare standards of British farmers.

Cheese
2465The majority of our cheeses are sourced directly from the farms where they are produced. Here in the South West we are extremely privileged with the number of fantastic artisan cheese makers around us. Taw Valley Creamery are based in North Tawton, Devon and use fresh, high quality milk sourced from surrounding farms to produce their award-winning Cheddars. Sharpham Cheese is produced on the Sharpham Estate in Totnes using rich milk from their own herd of Jersey cattle. Their unpasteurised ‘raw’ cheeses include the bestselling Rustic range with both Plain and Chive and Garlic versions available and the creamy Sharpham – a soft French Coulommier style cheese.

Fishfish
Jacksons Fishmongers in Newton Abbot are suppliers of our smoked fish selection including smoked mackerel, peppered mackerel, smoked trout and boned kippers. Purchasing the freshest fish from day boats coming in at nearby Brixham, they are passionate about sustainable fishing and all of their seafood comes from vessels certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or the Responsible Fish Scheme. All of the fish is then prepared and smoked on site.

Visit our website to view our entire product range, the majority of which is locally sourced from Devon and Cornwall and support a British producer today!

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Cheese Showcase: Stilton

stiltonOur Blue Stilton is made at the Tuxford & Tebbutt creamery in Melton Mowbray, famed as being one of only six creameries permitted to make traditional Blue Stilton after the cheese was granted protected designation of origin.

The ‘King of English cheeses’ has been produced at the creamery since 1780 and today is as popular as ever. The producers at Arla’s Tuxford & Tebbutt creamery focus on traditional methods while making the cheese including using open vats and individually maturing and grading each cheese.

This traditional approach results in a rich and complex cheese that has a deliciously smooth creaminess and wonderful crumbly texture. It is currently available in whole 4kg rounds, 2kg ½ moons and in retail 200g packs.

stilton 2 (2)There are many ways of enjoying Stilton either simply as part of an after dinner cheeseboard with crackers, grapes, celery and chutney with perhaps a glass of port or baked into souffles for those more adventurous. At this time of year we’ve been enjoying it in a light salad for lunch with pear, walnuts and prosciutto parma ham with a balsamic dressing which we would highly recommend!

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Local Producers – Waterhouse Fayre

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on all of our local producers and their delicious products, starting this week with Waterhouse Fayre.

waterhouse fayre

Established in 2004 by Ann Stallard, the business began as a way of selling jam made using surplus fruit left over from growing for local restaurants and hotels. However within two years they had to stop selling the fruit as they needed it all for their now very popular jams and chutneys. With the business expanding Ann made the decision to move from their North Devon premises to a more central location in Mid Devon, allowing them to increase their fruit patch and keep up with demand.

pond weeedDespite the sheer quantity of jams and chutneys now being produced, all of their products are still made in small batches to retain the traditional, homemade feel and flavour that is so integral to the businesses success. There are now a wide range of flavours and varieties available from traditional raspberry jam and red onion marmalade to more modern flavours such as their gin & orange marmalade and Exmoor pond weed chutney – made using green tomatoes and chilli. Our personal favourite is the whortleberry jam which has a lovely delicate sweetness and is made from wild Dartmoor and Exmoor blueberries.

Waterhouse Fayre retail sizes are available in trays of six while catering sizes of their most popular jams and chutneys are available in 3.4kg tubs. Their entire range can be viewed here: http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/devon-chutneys-jam-preserves/ however it is constantly being extended so please let us know if you have seen something that we haven’t listed.

We absolutely love the Waterhouse Fayre products and as the range is constantly being extended and updated there is always something new to discover.

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Chunk of Devon Autumn Offers

lamb maroc pastySo that’s it, most schools re-open for the autumn term today and for many the summer is essentially over. We’ve already had customers request our Christmas brochure and seen more than one pumpkin spiced latte on our Instagram feed. It certainly won’t be long before the leaves begin to turn delightful shades of auburn and we begin to yearn for some warm and nourishing comfort food.

This month Chunk of Devon have two products on special offer with 20% off, one of which is the delicious Sheep pie. Tender chunks of lamb and mutton are mixed with a redcurrant and mint gravy before being wrapped in Chunk’s signature buttery shortcrust pastry. Also on special offer is the Lamb Maroc pasty which we have to admit is one of our favourites. Full of juicy free range lamb, potato and sun-dried tomatoes mixed with fresh rosemary and caraway seeds – this pays homage to the origins of the pasty which is believed to be from the South Mediterranean. sheep pie

Both of these products are available in deli un-wrapped cases, individually wrapped cases and singles and frozen un-baked cases. Contact us to place an order or visit http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/chunk-of-devon/ to view the full range.

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Devon Day!

It’s Devon Day, originally the feast day of St Petroc, to whom the Devon flag is dedicated, and more recently a chance to celebrate the best that our beautiful county has to offer including – most importantly to us – local produce and producers.

Devonshire Tea
devonshire teaBased in Axminster, East Devon and established in 2015, Devonshire Tea are a small independent company creating simple blended teas using the finest ethically sourced ingredients. All of their teabags are plastic free and hand stitched rather than heat sealed and are custom blended to their own recipes. Flavours include the bestselling Classic Breakfast, fragrant Earl Grey and delicate Delightful Afternoon varieties. All of these are available in individual cartons of 20 teabags, cases of six cartons and foodservice catering boxes of 200 individual teabags.

Taw Valley Cheese
The Taw Valley Creamery is situated in the beautiful countryside surroundingtaw valley range North Tawton in the western part of the county. Their master cheesemakers produce excellent quality cheeses using traditional methods and fresh, quality milk from local farms. Their range includes the bestselling Taw Valley Tickler cheddar with superb depth of flavour and distinctive salt crystals giving it a slightly crunchy texture and the Taw Valley Mature which is lovely and creamy with rich and complex flavours. All of the Taw Valley range is available in both retail packs and catering sizes.

Chunk of Devon
Based in Ottery St Mary in East Devon Chunk are one of our longest running lines. Using locally sourced ingredients and traditional pastry skills their ‘hunks’ produce a variety of pies, pasties and savoury snacks which have won many awards including Taste of the West Gold. Their range includes the Kickin Chicken Kickin_chicken_pieCurry Pie made with lightly spiced chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers in a creamy curry sauce and wrapped in buttery pastry, the new veggie Spicy Jack Pasty made with delicious jackfruit, squash, peppers and sweet potato mixed with spices and wrapped in traditional shortcrust pastry and the original Chunki Sausage Roll made using pork seasoned with sage and onion and wrapped in buttery puff pastry. All are available in individual retail packs, deli-unwrapped cases and frozen un-baked cases.

We hope you enjoy celebrating Devon Day!

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It’s English Tourism Week!

english tourism weekWe think of ourselves as extremely lucky to live and work in this beautiful county full of stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and best of all for us, fantastic producers of delicious food. To celebrate English Tourism Week we thought we’d highlight some of the best local producers from Devon including Sutton Lucy Dairy, Waterhouse Fayre and Chunk of Devon who provide a good reason for tourists to flock here all year round!

sutton lucy dairySutton Lucy Dairy
These are a fairly new supplier to us but so far we are receiving some great feedback from our customers. Based near Honiton in East Devon Sutton Lucy Dairy was established in 2017 by husband and wife team Rebecca and Philip Cooke after the closure of two local dairies resulted in their farm shop having to stock Cornish milk and creams. They now produce a variety of yogurts and creams made using the milk from their own herd of Jersey and Holstein cows which we think are delicious – particularly the raspberry and the toffee yogurts which seem to disappear soon after delivery…

waterhouse fayreWaterhouse Fayre
We have been stocking Waterhouse Fayre jams and chutneys for a long time now and the range keeps extending! Made by the lovely Ann Stallard and team in their custom built facilities near Tiverton in Mid Devon, the Waterhouse Fayre products have won many awards including a number of gold and silver at the prestigious Taste of the West Awards. It’s hard to single out a particular favourite but the classic Raspberry jam is always a winner and the Exmoor Pond Weed made with under-ripened green tomatoes and chillies is delicious with some cured meats out in the sunshine!

Chunk of Devon
Chunk of Devon are producers of delicious pies and pasties based in Ottery Stchunk of devon logo Mary and firmly established since 2006. Made using as locally sourced ingredients as possible by a team of passionate ‘hunks’, their pies and pasties have won numerous awards including the controversial Britain’s Best Cornish Pasty in 2009! We love their new addition Spicy Jack pie which is full of nutritious veg, coconut milk and curried spices – we promise you won’t miss the meat with this one!

This is a no means exhaustive list of the fantastic producers we have here in Devon and we are proud to be able to stock their vast array of products. For any more info on these or any of our other suppliers please get in touch!

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Shop Local this Christmas

Related imageThe Shop Local campaign was launched in 2013 encouraging consumers to support their local, independent traders on the high street. There are many advantages to shopping locally including low food miles, finding something quirky and unique, building communities and getting better service to name just a few. Here at Isca Foods we are passionate about supporting local businesses. Many of our products are sourced from within the South West and collected from the producers themselves from jams and chutneys from Waterhouse Fayre, cheeses from Devon based Quicke’s and Sharpham and pies and pasties from Chunk of Devon in Ottery St Mary.

Christmas is an important time for many small businesses and this year why not support local and buy your gifts closer to home? We are lucky here in the South West that there are so many great community shops, deli’s and farm shops selling excellent local produce. We’ve listed a few of them below, so why not take a chance and make someone’s Christmas local this year?

Greendale Farm ShopImage result for greendale farm shop
Located just outside of Exeter this is so much more than a farm shop. With a butchers, deli and cheese counter, cafe and a host of farm animals roaming the grounds, a trip to Greendale is a real family day out. The farm shop itself sells a wide range of locally sourced products from fresh fruit and veg, local cheese, handmade pies, sliced cooked meats and charcuterie and specialist meat cuts by their award-winning butchers; you need look no further for your foodie treats this Christmas!

download (1)Fine Foods of Braunton
A family run delicatessen based on the gorgeous North Devon coast, this unassuming shop also boasts a cafe serving delicious freshly ground coffee and a selection of cakes and savouries. The deli prides itself on sourcing the best of local produce from cheeses, wines and spirits, olives, local creams and yogurts and sliced meats as well as handmade gifts. It’s ethos of good old fashioned service from knowledgeable staff makes it not just another shopping trip but a great experience.

Otterton-Logo.-Colour_crop-e1536159423675Otterton Mill
Set beside the River Otter in East Devon this historic mill draws visitors for its beautiful setting, reputation for fantastic food in the award-winning restaurant and their range of tasty treats in the food shop. A huge range of fantastic cheeses, delicious freshly baked bread and cakes, local sausages, handmade pies, sliced meats, olives and more as well as handmade unique ceramics, glassware and jewellery  in the gallery are on offer here. Pop along for lunch or afternoon tea and we bet you won’t leave empty handed!

Image result for stokeley farm shopStokeley Farm Shop
This thriving country farm shop based near Kingsbridge in South Devon is proud to support local producers and the local community, regularly holding live music events, crafting evenings and this years widely anticipated Christmas Market. It has everything you would expect from a farm shop: butchery, bakery and deli as well as fresh, homegrown fruit and veg. Their deli is bursting with local delights including olives, charcuterie and award-winning artisan cheeses as well as local chutneys, jams and pickles.

45541231_1986106681479573_4920883604579418112_nThere are of course many more fantastic deli’s, farm shops and community shops throughout the South West that we haven’t listed here, this time of year is the perfect opportunity to explore, find your new favourite and treat your loved ones to unique gifts. With fantastic local produce, low food miles, individual and often homemade items and bespoke service from someone who really knows their business and products, why not support your local deli, farm shop or community enterprise this Christmas?

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