The rest of Hilary's e-diary can be found here
WILLOWS FARM VILLAGE, M25 JUNC. 22. HERTS.
A kind of motorway combination of a city farm and Harrods.
Organic, free-range and ‘local’ produce from all over Europe, but mainly England, is sold here. I didn’t find much that was really local, though there was a goats’ cheese (CHILDWICKBURY) from St. Albans. Milk is from D&M, ROOKERY FARM, ASTON CLINTON, BUCKS. Otherwise very little British dairy produce. No yogurt. Good meat counter but they don’t say where the animals come from. Very few fresh vegetables but, like most farm shops, a good selection of frozen, presumably grown locally, or even by them.
We believe that much of the best food is made in a traditional manner, by small producers who do not spend millions on building their brands.
Also on site are an expensive clothes shop, a forge and a “farm park” ie. Animals in fields for the public to meet and activities for children. The theme was Halloween.
STURT FARM, BURFORD, OXON.
Free-range venison, beef (Dexter), pork ( Saddleback and Wild Boar X), lamb (Radnor), poultry and eggs. Animals in the fields, slaughtered in Whitney, which is 10 minutes away. They also grow fruit, vegetables and herbs.
BIBURY TROUT FARM
Started in 1902, they have spent the last 100 years getting it right. Beautiful setting between the river Colne and Arlington Mill stream, so the trout have fast running water through a series of ponds. The public pay to go in, to feed the fish (which is exciting and well worth 25p), to catch fish, and to buy the finished product, fresh or smoked. The fish look healthy and not over-crowded. The main trade is stocking other trout farms, rivers and lakes, but fresh fish from here are also sold locally.
ABBEY HOME FARM, CIRENCESTER, GLOS.
Very efficient and enjoyable. The building is greatly enlarged since my last visit. The food in the café is excellent, particularly their vegetables, all grown on the farm and pleasingly inventive for late autumn. As you eat, you can read news of the farms animals (sheep, cows, hens, pigs,) and the progress of the vegetables.
The shop sells their own vegetables, meat, eggs, not milk yet “but we’re working on it”. At the moment their milk goes to Yeo Valley and comes back in the form of butter, yogurt, cheese. They also sell organic produce from round the country and Ecover products in bulk. They make their own charcoal in the woods as well.
TETBURY FARMERS MARKET
HAYMES FARM, SOUTHAM, CHELTENHAM, organic mushrooms.
DUCHY HOME FARM, TETBURY, organic vegetables.
SEVERN VIEW FARM, INGLESTONE COMMON, GLOS. Organic meat and vegetables, woollen clothes, beeswax. I hope to see them.
WHITFIELD ORGANIC BEEF, FALFIELD, GLOS. www.jfrhblair.co.uk
AVALON FRUIT FARM, GREET, GLOS. Fruit juice and cider.
WHARF FARM CAMBRIDGE, GLOS. Goats’ and sheeps’ milk and cheseses. She was also selling WICK COURT’S double and single Gloucester cheese.
STROUD FARMERS MARKET in serious rain, but Stroud turns out anyway. Eating and music in the streets and so many stalls that I shall leave out some, not because they were less good but because I couldn’t see a name. Masses of eager buyers.
4 cheese stalls:
GODSELL CHURCH FARM, LEONARD STANLEY, GLOS
BIRDWOOD FARM, HUNTLEY, GLOS.
CERNEY CHEESE (goats’) N. CERNEY, GLOS
WICK COURT, ARLINGHAM, GLOS.
Free range poultry from MADGETTS FARM, TIDENHAM CHASE, CHEPSTOW.
Free range eggs from JAXONS FARM, WHITMINSTER, GLOS.
Meat stalls included:
FULMAYS, NASTEND FARM, STONEHOUSE, GLOS, who keep pigs in the woods,
FROCESTER FAYRE, CHURCH FARM, FROCESTER, GLOS (“Traditional meats, sausages and pies straight from the farm”)
ADEY’S FARM Organic meat
NATURE’S FINEST Game. Matthew Wilson Wright 01453 521978
SELSEY HERBS, BISLEY, GLOS
DAY FARM ORGANIC APPLES, juice and cider
HAYLES FRUIT FARM, WINCHCOMBE, GLOS. Also apples, apple juice and cider
And lots of vegetables including
NEWARK FARM ORGANIC VEG.
WARREN PARK FARM, TODDINGTON
DUCHY HOME FARM, HIGHGROVE, TETBURY, GLOS setting a very high standard: beautiful vegetables, excellent choice, totally organic and they now do veggie boxes. Also a very good leaflet about organic farming.
SEVERN VIEW FARM, INGLESTONE COMMON, GLOS.
15 acre smallholding rearing organic sheep, pigs and poultry, all free-range. They have bees and grow vegetables. Shop selling meat, knitting wool and woven rugs and shawls (Shetland and Jacob), honey, beeswax and candles. Pauline and Colin Dixon run the farm and a boarding cattery as a labour of love. They intend to make a profit one day.
One of their greatest concerns is the lack of a local slaughterhouse. There was a mobile unit based at Castle Combe. They were forced to close by all the new regulations, but, now that Defra are on their side, they are hoping to start up again if they can find a base to operate from. Pauline was thinking of writing to the Prince of Wales to ask if there might be room at Highgrove. Animals from the Duchy Home Farm have to be sent to Cinderford to be slaughtered, as the Dixons’ animals do. I said I would support Pauline and write to the Prince as well.
With all good wishes to all my farming friends,