13 of the best farm shops in Somerset
- Credit: Sheppy's
Surging in popularity with shoppers, and helping farmers diversify and survive in a tough industry, farm shops are thriving in Somerset. Catherine Courtenay checks out some of the best.
Home produced meat:
1. Kimbers Farm Shop
Generations of the Kimber family have been farming for 350 years and sell their products through their farm shop, Kimbers, near Wincanton. They are a mixed stock farm and they sell a range of meat boxes and hampers, with the meat prepared by their own master butcher. It’s free range and ethically reared and slaughtered too. There is also a large selection of dairy, groceries and deli items sold at the shop and by mail order. Customers visiting the shop can also pop in to the Kitchen at Kimbers for a bite to eat.
2. Upton Bridge Farm, Long Sutton
Another family-run farm, going back three generations, is Upton Bridge Farm at Long Sutton near Langport. It specialises in the North Devon rare breed, Red Ruby cattle, which graze on the Levels surrounding the farm. The meat is matured for 21 days and is rich in Omega-3 fats and trace minerals. The fam shop sells the Walford family’s beef, along with sustainably produced pork and chicken. It sells an excellent range of pantry good, bakery items, dairy products and seasonal fruit and veg grown within a mile of the farm.
3. Farm2Fork, Dowlish Ford
There’s a strong ethos of sustainable farming, supporting wildlife and allowing animals to live as nature intended at Farm2Fork, a small organic farm not far from Ilminster at Dowlish Ford. Greenway farm produces grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, turkey and goose with the cattle and sheep grazing on herb-enriched pastures, alongside free-roaming geese and turkeys The chickens are moved around daily in large pens, safe from predators. Produce is seasonal and on a small scale and can be ordered online or from the farm’s own self-service shop, which also means you can take a walk around and explore the farm yourself.
From the cider farm
4. Thatchers Farm Shop, Sandford
Somerset has a good number of farm shops attached to cider making farms, including Thatchers at Myrtle Farm in Sandford, which has all the company’s well-known ciders, plus limited editions alongside cheeses and chutneys. The shop was originally opened by Stan Thatcher, who was head of the family business from the 1940s. He set it up in the farm’s dovecote, but apparently it was as much a meeting place for local farmers, as a retail outlet!
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5. Sheppy’s Farm Shop, Taunton
The farm shop at Sheppy’s near Taunton offers a deli and butchery, selling local produce, along with the cider store which stocks all its ciders. The shop is set in the old red brick cider mill, which is now Sheppy’s House of Cider, welcoming visitors who can enjoy the added benefits of a restaurant and bar. It’s next to the orchards too, so after browsing the shop there’s the chance to take a wander through the trees to a children’s playground and duck pond.
6. Hecks Farm Shop, Street
Hecks Cider started selling its cider from a farm shop in Street way back in 1896. This is another family-run affair covering six generations since they started making cider in 1841. These days the ciders are accompanied by apple juice, apple cider vinegar and perry. The shop also sells cheeses, fruit and veg, jams, chutneys and preserves, honey and fruit and veg.
Choose some cheeses
7. Godminster Farm Shop, Bruton
Try Godminster farm shop in Bruton which sells the organic cheddar cheeses made by this award-winning dairy, along with all the accompaniments (chutneys and wines) and some extras beside, like snacks and deli items.
8. Westcombe Dairy
Pop in to Westcombe Dairy near Shepton Mallet where you can buy the farm’s range of cheeses, along with some extras from other makers. Westcombe makes traditional clothbound cheddar, aged caerphilly, ricotta and smoked cheddar using milk from its own dairy cows. The shop also stocks local drinks – Somerset Cider Brandy and Wildling Cider for example.
9. Lye Cross Farm Shop
The farm shop sells its award-winning Cheddar cheeses, which are made just a few metres away, as well as other popular local cheeses.
The shop also has a comprehensive butchery, delicatessen and bread counters, with milk, bread, fruit and veg delivered daily from the local market.
Veg from the farm
10. Plowright Farm Shop, Nether Stowey
Operating very much to a local market is the award -winning Plowright Farm Shop. It’s at Nether Stowey near Bridgwater and works on a self-service system, selling it’s organic seasonal veg and salads, as well as well as some herbs and fruit. It also sells some other basic food items.
11. The Trading Post, Lopen
Set on a working organic farm, The Trading Post farm shop also sells food and drink from around the area, supporting over 150 suppliers. Its range includes storecupboard items and wholefoods and it has a deli and greengrocers selling its selection of farm -grown, organic veg. Organic milk and milkshakes area available through a vending machine and There’s preserves, and drinks, pastry products and fresh bread. There’s a refill room too, supplying dried goods, from pasta to seeds and cereal, and a wide range of eco-friendly household products and toiletries.
12. Middlewick Farm Shop, Glastonbury
What began as a small shop for guests staying in holiday cottages has now become a very popular farm shop selling a host of local produce, including lamb from their own farm and beef from the neighbours’ farm, Whites of Wick. Middlewick Farm Shop at Glastonbury now sells a wide range of produce and offer tasty bakery products and coffee. It became extremely popular during lockdown and started offering takeaway too. June is set to see the opening of a new, larger onsite farm shop.
Celebrating 25 years
People are still surprised when they discover that the pork chops, or the jar of jam they’re about to buy, is actually produced and made at Rumwell Farm Shop.
The farm shop near Taunton is packed with goodies. It’s split into sections that include a food hall, butchery, deli, bakery, café and flower shed. You can do all your shopping in one go – and stop for lunch; but 25 years after it started out from a shed, it’s still all about the farm.
‘We just couldn’t have one without the other,’ says Anne Mitchell, who co-owns the shop with her farmer husband, David. Farm shops have been around a long time, along with PYO, or ‘pick your own’ straight from the field. These days, there are farm shops springing up in every county – but do check they are what they say they are, says Anne. ‘Genuine is one of my buzz words,’ she adds.
Take that jar of jam. Rumwell has a Jam Kitchen. It launched after Anne met a WI lady making jams at Taunton market. She set up in a kitchen at the farm shop and, with the aid of a Baby Belling cooker, began making jams and chutneys. By that time, the family farm included orchards, so it made sense to use up leftover fruit in this way. As with all the cooking areas at Rumwell, the Jam Kitchen is in full view of the public, and it’s still going strong – now making 55 varieties.
This commitment to selling farm produce, primarily their own, and that brought in from other local small farms, is central to the ethos of Rumwell.