• annahamlyn1

In season is the new in-fashion

Updated: Mar 8

We’ve all grown used to the convenience and choice of our favourite brand supermarkets with their all-year-round global produce and the collateral damage of their air miles, but when you’re out and about you can discover a fast-growing retail market with a local taste of the countryside – the farm shop.

You don’t even have to head off the beaten track as the farm shop has come to town, with city co-operatives and social enterprises like Windmill Hill City Farm in Bristol making sure that you don’t miss out, and market towns looking back to their roots with weekly Farmers’ Markets.

Today’s breed of farm shops take shop local seriously and the savviest of farm shops have added value to their displays of seasonal fresh produce in the same way that garden centres have cultivated a clientele that isn’t exclusive to the green-fingered.

They’ve become meeting places for friends, with cafés and restaurants, entertainment venues for children with maize mazes to get lost in, farm animals to see up close, and gift shops for something slightly different. Darts Farm on the edge of Exeter is a great example.

Perhaps above all, they’ve become a local business community with a different take on the meaning of buy one get one free – to encourage us to support local producers and a hands-on lesson in seasonal farm to fork for our children.

They’ve even started to influence the fast-moving, grab-and-go mentality of our motorway service stations. Take the example of the Gloucester Services Farm Shop & Kitchen on the M5. It’s a breath of innovative fresh air that’s made a break from the usual motorway pitstop.

Click & Collect has become second nature, and many farm shops deliver to your doorstep too. Riverford Organic Farmers,, set the bar high in the leap of faith from their fields to your kitchens. If shopping online has become your go-to place, it’s the edible alternative to Amazon!

A quick Google search will give you the top pick.

You can use these guides to go to town in the countryside so to speak and discover the Best 50, the Best of the Best, and the Best of the Rest. Best of all – there’s sure to be a farm shop or a farmers’ market within reach and that’s the Best One.

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