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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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.

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.Facebooktwitterinstagram