Wherever you are in the country, farm shops are the place to go to discover wonderful food and drink items, which are either local to the area or specially sourced. Often these shops will be found right where said food items are being grown or reared. If you’re very lucky you’ll find a cafe or restaurant serving up dishes made with the farm’s own produce.

Any visit to a farm shop is a delight, and Darts Farm near Topsham certainly ranks as one of the s most exciting. Built up over the years and through generations of the Dart family, its award-winning credentials are well-known throughout the county and it keeps turning out new surprises to tempt us food-loving shoppers.

Just over a year ago, The Farm Table was launched, a new restaurant to join its collection of on-site dining venues. Its aim was to create seasonal dishes using the produce from the family farm, along with that from the various local producers who supply the shop.

‘Seasonal and local’ is a well worn phrase these days, every restaurant seems to be making the claim, which is great, but I tend to be a little wary when I read the words on a menu. How local and seasonal is it really?

Well, they’ve taken the words to heart at The Farm Table. When I visit the menu really is a celebration of the late autumn/winter season. It’s separated into sections, From the Soil, Sea or Land, and each dish is well and truly local, crab from Brixham, venison from Powderham and Ruby Red Devon beef from the farm itself, along with an overflowing medley of vegetables which are dug or picked within walking distance each morning.

Perhaps because of the plentiful supply, the result is a bounteous feast. The freshness of this produce is unrivalled, and it’s given appropriate treatment in the dishes which allow the flavours, and colours, to sing. The roasted romanesco with confit garlic and cobnut and kale pesto is divine, intense in flavour and looking so beautiful. The main of leek and brassica stuffed cabbage leaf with a Meditteranean-style marrowfat pea and kale stew is another showcase for our glorious winter veg - and why aren’t marrowfat peas used more? Only afterwards do I realise I’ve gone for two completely plant-based dishes, but they are inspired.

Darts also champions select producers from further afield, and new to the menu that day is the 36-month cured Iberico ham offering, coming direct from a farm in Spain. The dressed crab is another seasonal star, enjoyed with a glass of white wine from Darts Farm’s own vineyard, Pebblebed. The drinks offering also reflects the restaurant’s ethos, it includes Exeter Brewery ales and ciders from Sandford Orchards, which runs a micro cidery here, visible behind a glass wall. There’s a nice collection of cocktails on offer too and a locally made kombucha - fermenting and pickling is another key element in head chef Tom Chivers’ kitchen (I note the array of bottles and jars dotted around the comfortably rustic dining area).

It’s nice to see a good selection of small plates and nibbles, enabling you to select some more treats, but do leave room for a dessert, preferably the Chocolate Nemesis, made with the bean to bear chocolate crafted by the Darts Farm in-house chocolatier. Intense, cocoa-bitter rich, and offset by a berry compote, it’s surely one for The Farm Table’s hall of fame.