If you are visiting Devon this year, it would be a crying shame to ‘click and collect’ your groceries without sampling the alternative shopping experience at your local farm shop. Not only will you have the opportunity to choose from what is fresh and locally produced – but the chances are, you will be treated to a whole diverse range of goods from around the county and even perhaps from across the Channel – ‘A’la France’, as in the case of my own local farm shop – Millers Farm.
Devon is a fabulous foodie county our farmers and fisherman supplying our nation with the absolute best fresh produce, whether its home reared meats and fresh vegetables and for fine dining city restaurants or fresh fish, sausages and pies for our supermarkets. You can even get Brixham fish in the buffet car of South Western Trains (so I’ve heard on the radio!)
There is no shortage of farm shops in the county and its likely that where ever you stay there will be one within a short drive. Of course the other great alternative is to visit the weekly farmers market – again the chances are you will find one in a town near you, and you’ll often be treated to try before you buy – so don’t fill up on a big breakfast before you go!
This weekend I jollied down to my own local farm shop – Millers Farm, who were co-incidentally hosting their own market event that day. A family affair – run by Malcolm Miller who has been growing and sourcing local produce for over 30 years. We get all our fresh fruit and veg, meat and even food for the dog here – its either grown on the farm or locally produced. Yes you will find some imported fruit and veg. that simply isn’t available over here during certain times of the year – but I try and choose what’s in season as you know its fresh and delicious.
There’s a great French twist at Millers as Malcolm travels across to France each week to bring back some fantastic French produce from their local markets and vineyards! If you are looking for great Bordeaux – look no further and its far better value than the equivalent supermarket vintage. Divine French cheeses and charcuterie and very pleasant Prosecco that I am quite partial to on the odd occasion.
You could be forgiven for thinking that shopping in a farm shop is going to be more expensive – well perhaps its not going to compete with infamous ‘blue stripe’ but I can vouch that most brand items certainly in my local farm shop match the price of the local Tesco.
For me its more than simply choosing fantastic fresh local ingredients – its the atmosphere, warmth of welcome and passion about their great food and the place they work, that makes shopping here a real treat. Nothing is ever too much trouble and you are made to feel like one of the family each time you pop in. Shopping shouldn’t be drudgery, so don’t just trust to your normal supermarket when you come on holiday – if you in the area pop in and say hi to guys at Millers – and they serve great coffee and bacon sarnis by the way!