Three of the Best Farm Shops to Visit this Spring

The weather is improving, Covid restrictions are easing and we’re all itching to get out of the houses we’ve been stuck in for more than a year so what better first step back to normality than a farm shop? Bursting with home grown fruit and vegetables, local cheese and meat counters, home made gifts from small scale producers, onsite cafes with alfresco dining, play areas for the kids and in some cases roaming animals to chase (kidding, obviously), farm shops offer a unique day out full of opportunity. Here we highlight three great local farm shops to visit this spring.

THORNES FARM SHOP

Let’s start with Thornes Farm Shop. Located just outside Crediton Thorne Farm has been owned by Anthony Thorne since 1986 but it wasn’t until the early 90’s, when locals began asking to buy produce directly, that the idea to open a shop arose. Opened in 1992, the shop specialises in home grown fresh produce straight from the fields as well as locally baked bread and pies, meats, local cheeses and chutneys, local wines, spirits and of course cider. Thornes has also become known for its ‘Pick Your Own’ fields where, as the name suggests, customers can pick their own produce to take home – we can’t wait to pick our own strawberries there later this year. Visit https://www.thornesfarmshop.co.uk/ for opening times and more info.

EXE VALLEY FARM SHOP

Exe Valley Farm Shop in Thorverton just outside of Exeter has been owned and run by the May family since 1990. The shop underwent an extensive renovation three years ago when the shop was extended to almost three times the size and a new butchery counter installed as well as refurbishment of the Ruby Red Cafe. The dedicated butchery counter specialises in livestock bred on the farm while the farm shop itself sources a majority of local products from surrounding producers including cheeses, sliced and cured meats and locally smoked fish as well as a variety of dips and salads. All of the farm’s own Ruby Red cattle, beef, lamb, pork and potatoes are also available from the cafe menu which features a range of breakfasts, burgers and jacket potatoes as well as sandwiches and soups – something for even the pickiest eater. There is plenty of outside seating to adhere to current Covid restrictions and plenty of space for the kids to let off some steam, for more info visit https://exevalleyfarmshop.co.uk/ .

HALBERTON COURT FARM SHOP

Halberton Court Farm Shop was originally established in 2001 by the Stevens family selling home grown vegetables from an honesty box at the end of the road. By 2007 the business had expanded dramatically and the time had come to invest in a larger shop and an onsite cafe. Today the farm shop stocks a range of home grown fruit and vegetables as well as locally sourced creams, yogurts and cheeses, fresh meat and pies and pasties as well as locally sourced wines, beer, cider and spirits. Following the slight easing of Covid restrictions Halberton’s onsite cafe The Swans Neck Cafe is now open for takeaway treats to enjoy in the sunny garden (weather permitting of course!), visit http://www.halbertoncourtfarmshop.co.uk/index.htm#top for more info.

These farm shops epitomise one of our core business mantras ‘support local’. With the year we’ve all just experienced it’s more important than ever to support your local small business. Most went above and beyond for their customers both old and new during the lockdown(s) and we hope that many of these new found customers will continue to enjoy the benefits of shopping at their local farm shop.

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Local Producers – Jacksons Fishmongers

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 Jacksons Fishmongers.jacksons logo

A traditional fishmongers and smokehouse Jacksons Fishmongers was established in Newton Abbot in 1922. Sourcing the majority of their fish from nearby Brixham Jacksons focus on supplying sustainably caught fish and SmokedSalmonFillets (3)shellfish to their customers. All of the boats from which they buy their fish are endorsed by the Marine Stewardship Council and most are line caught in keeping with ethical guidelines or from boats adhering to the Responsible Fishing Scheme. Jacksons also produce their own smoked fish range using their on site smoker.

We stock a variety of Jacksons products including the smoked mackerel, peppered mackerel, smoked kippers and hot smoked trout which are all available in 100-200g retail packs. Recently we have also begun stocking their frozen salmon fillets which are available in individual 200g portions. Click here to view the full range and for more information.Facebooktwitterinstagram

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!Facebooktwitterinstagram

National BBQ Week!

What could be better – it’s a bank holiday, it’s half term and it’s BBQ week!
First launched in the summer of 1997 to recognise the UK’s growing BBQ culture; this is a celebration of all things BBQ and the long way we’ve come from “if it isn’t burnt it’s not BBQ!” We’ve got some great BBQ ideas and although we can’t guarantee the weather, we can guarantee the delicious taste of these fantastic products – rain or shine!

ChinnsSausage_omlo-b1W.F Chinns Sausages
Chinns was established in Crediton over forty years ago and today operates just around the corner from the original factory headed by husband and wife team Rose and Tony Palmer. Their original pork sausages are delicious on a BBQ but if you want to really smoke things up why not try their pork and chorizo sausages for full on flavour? We also particularly love their red onion sausages in a hot dog! All other flavours can be found here – everything from honeyroast to stilton and even gluten free options: http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/local-fresh-sausages/
Did you know that Chinns also produce burgers? Available in packs of four these are proper, meaty burgers perfect for a BBQ and in classic beef and pork & apple flavours.

Dips and Salads
Alongside the main attractions dips and salads such as our range from Delphi Foods have become a common staple at a BBQ. A leading producer of chilled dips, salads and Mediterranean specialities Delphi products are now one of our bestsellers. Their products include various flavoured houmous, olives and tapasdelphi dips. While coleslaw and potato salad are traditional favourites why not also try something different like Middle Eastern style cous cous with char-grilled vegetables or a light Greek tzatziki made with fresh yogurt, cucumber, mint and olive oil would be perfect with some BBQ-ed lamb? For veggies you could also turn their delicous three bean salad with red kidney, borlotti and canellini beans into burgers – mix with some spices and add a slice or two of cheese and you’re good to go! For all other Delphi products have a look here:  http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/salads-dips-and-olives/delphi/

Fish
Fish can be a delicious alternative to meat on the BBQ, whether mixed with fresh, zingy citrus flavours or lightly charred for delicious smokiness. We stock a range fishof fish including frozen cod fillets, smoked haddock and salmon fillets as well as fresh smoked mackerel, peppered mackerel, smoked trout and kippers from Jackson’s Fishmongers in Newton Abbot. Why not make a smoked trout salad with some new potatoes and rocket for a fresh BBQ twist or try some salmon fillets with a soy and ginger marinade wrapped in foil and BBQ-ed? Our whole fish range is available to view here: http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/fish/

We hope you enjoy at least one BBQ this week whether it’s in the brilliant sunshine or with everyone rushing inside after a downpour, it really doesn’t matter as long as the food tastes good right!?

Feature image by Carnivore Style via: https://carnivorestyle.com/.Facebooktwitterinstagram

Valentines Home-Cooked Food Ideas

Sometimes it just makes more sense to have a romantic, cosy night in for Valentines Day. With overcrowded restaurants, overpriced food and the cost of getting a babysitter in for the evening or a taxi home later on as well as gifts and cards for your significant other, it can be a less than relaxing evening. Instead, take your pick of one of these delicious menu ideas, grab a good bottle of fizz and take to the kitchen. A lot of these ideas can be prepared in advance or take little time to cook so you can simply enjoy each others company.

Starters
We’ve said it before and I’m sure we’ll be saying it many more times to come – we love a baked Camembert. Easy to prepare and deliciously naughty, we love it with some fresh, crusty bread and a balsamic glaze but you can jazz it up as cricket-st-thomas-camembert-220gmuch as you like. Score the top of the cheese and add some fresh rosemary and garlic before baking, pair with a variety of chutneys, add some finely chopped bacon – the opportunities for this baked box of goodness are endless. Why not try this Somerset Camembert made by Lubborn Cheese at Cricket St Thomas, Somerset full of delicious buttery flavours and a soft, edible white rind?

pateA simple starter that requires no preparation and is ready in the time it takes to burn some toast, this rich paté with some fruity chutney and peppery rocket is sure to hit the spot. Try our coarse cut duck paté  with orange zest and mixed herbs, paired with a Waterhouse Fayre handmade chutney for a truly delicious starter.

Mains
Create a restaurant style dish at home with cod lointhis baked cod loin wrapped in proscuitto ham full of the flavours of summer. We like this with some roasted Mediterranean vegetables and sauteed potatoes but if you’re feeling more adventurous, or really want to bring out those fishy flavours, try making a creamy crab risotto to go with it and we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Steak is becoming more of a staple for home stilton3cooked Valentines dinners and we can see the appeal – ready in minutes and with lots of sides to tempt you it’s the perfect meal to indulge and treat yourself and your partner. Serve with chunky, thick cut chips, roasted tomato and crunchy onion rings. We like experimenting with sauces so instead of traditional peppercorn why not try a luxurious Stilton sauce instead made with the rich and creamy Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton?

Dessert
To be honest we’re not really dessert people so forgoing dessert we’ve chosen a locally sourced cheeseboard with crisp crackers, grapes, apple and chutneys 486-1instead. This is something you can pick at later in the evening after a few glasses of wine when you’re not feeling quite so full and the fresh fruit and maybe a few sticks of celery will make you feel not quite so decadent. How about a classic, rich mature Cheddar from Quicke’s, smooth and creamy Cornish Brie from Trevarrian Creamery, fresh tasting Devon Blue from Ticklemore Cheese and deliciously flavoured with pungent garlic leaves Lynher Dairies Garlic Yarg? Of course a cheeseboard can be filled with any of your favourite cheeses and these are just a few of those we think would work together, experiment and see what works for you.Facebooktwitterinstagram

Smoking for Foodies

We have been smoking food for generations; using it to preserve food for long periods of time and for its tenderising and flavour carrying properties. It has been suggested that the recent resurgence of smoking food comes from a primeval attraction to fire and the memories it evokes, the smell of meat roasting on a BBQ is probably the modern equivalent of this as we imagine the delicious, tender meat we are about to eat. Cold smoking is generally used to smoke cured meats and fish as the temperature is usually kept between 20-30 degrees, meaning that the food being smoked is not cooked but merely infused with the smoky flavours. Hot smoking exposes the food to both heat and smoke and this is used to fully cook foods, creating moist meat and full, smoky flavours.
We stock a variety of smoked foods including the traditional cheese, fish, bacon and meats and we’ve listed some of our favourites below.

smoked_salmonSmoked Fish
Our John Ross smoked salmon is cold smoked over oak chips in the same red brick kilns used in the 19th century. The smoking process produces succulent flavours and a tender texture in the salmon which is sustainably farmed in the pure, clear waters of Scotland. This is available in 100g packs ideal for 1-2 people. We source the rest of our smoked fish range from Jacksons Fishmongers of Newton Abbot who prepare and smoke the fish sourced from Brixham fish market in their own kiln. We currently stock their rich and meaty smoked mackerel, smoked mackerel with crushed black peppercorns, lightly smoked trout and the classic Victorian breakfast dish, butterflied smoked kippers.

Smoked Cheese
We currently stock a variety of smoked cheeses all with varying degrees ofsmoked smokiness and flavour. Based in the lush valley of Newton St Cyres near Exeter the Quicke’s Oak Smoked cloth-bound cheddar is one of our favourites. It is naturally cold smoked over oak chips from their own trees for up to four hours, creating a subtle smokiness that compliments the cheeses’ buttery flavours.  Windyridge Cheese are artisan cheese makers based in Wincanton, Somerset. Their Bonfire Smoked cheese is made with smooth, creamy mature cheddar which is infused with rich, smoky flavours and dusted with paprika. The Dorset Red is made by Ford Farm Cheesemakers in Dorset. Their traditional mature cheddar is cold smoked over oak chips overnight which results in its distinctive smoky flavour and rich amber colour.

englishcuresmokedbackSmoked Meats
Our English cured smoked bacon is sourced from Devon Choice of Teignmouth, their bacon is full and rich in strong, smoky flavours which are great in pies, bacon sandwiches or a quiche Lorraine. The majority of our cured salamis are also lightly smoked including Danish, peppered and chorizo – our chorizo is also coated in smoked paprika for extra flavour.Facebooktwitterinstagram