Tuesday 1 July 2014

Darts Farm, Topsham

If you're into food and cooking as much as I am there is no doubt you will have visited a farm shop of some sort.

Hold your breath, folks, and be prepared to want to get on the next plane, train or automobile and get to Darts Farm as soon as humanly possible!

I mentioned in my last post that there are places I love going back to again and again - this is another.  Yes, it's just a shop but it takes "farm shop" to the next level!  From the moment you walk in you can tell it's something just a little bit special from the mounds of fresh veg, the quiches and pies at the deli counter and the millions of jams, chutneys and sauces (ok, maybe not millions but certainly rather a lot!)

The vegetables look like they are fresh out of the ground or have just been picked from a vine but still displayed beautifully and have a kind of order about them.

I think the onions made someone cry so they have their own section...

Once you tear your eyes away from the veggies you are greeted by the deli counter.  Massive quiches, golden pies, and all the delicious cheese you could ever ask for!

Follow the "path" around and you come face to face with the meat counter.  Look how bright and marbled the beef is.

The sausages are plump and ready to grill.  Lamb joints are fresh enough to jump right on to your plate.

Need some relishes to go with your choice of meat?  There is certainly no shortage of local chutneys, relishes, jams and preserves!

You don't think that chills are native to Devon however it's clear they flourish as the South Devon Chilli Farm offer a great selection of chilli jam, sauces, chilli chocolate and even "grow your own" kits.

The vast majority of the shop is full to the brim of tasty savoury treats but let's not forget that sweet tooth - there's also a small selection of chocolates, biscuits and locally produced fudge.  Yes, it's on top of a massive tyre!

Around the corner from the produce is a shop for all of your gifty needs with bowls, lunch boxes, cards and wrap, things for kiddies and garden paraphernalia.

But wait!  There's more!  I saved this section 'til last as it's my favourite...

Cider (or cyder)!  Besides having a really great selection of beers, wines and juices at Darts Farm, you can find an epic selection of ciders.

I got caught snapping away by Nick of Green Valley Cyder.  As a cider fan I am always keen to try new ciders, especially when they are local to the area I'm drinking in!  Nick and Chris started their business in 1989 and are in partnership with Darts Farm which is why you can find them situated under the inviting "Tasting Corner" sign nestled among bottles of their cyder.

A ton of fruit is used to make about 150 gallons of juice which is then ready to embark on the long journey to produce my favourite alcoholic beverage!

If you're expecting the mainstream stuff you get from a can from your local supermarket, be prepared to  taste something totally different.  You can still actually taste apples but with a hint of oak and you don't get the nasty coating in your mouth that I find I get after a couple of glasses of commercially produced cider.  It's not just me who enjoys the taste - they've won numerous awards including Champion cider makers at the Devon Country show (not once but three times!).

As you can tell, I'm completely smitten with their cyder and if Nick wants to hold up his invitation, I'd love to come back in October/November to see the whole cyder making process!

Oh, you didn't think I'd sign off without sharing my purchases, did you?!

Doctor's Orders - a treat from Nick - thank you!  
Stillwood vintage cyder - £4.29, 1L
Green Valley Cyder (Scrumpy) - £3.49, 1L
South Devon Chilli Farm Smoky Chipotle Sauce - £3.49, 140ml
Cranfields Fresh Beetroot & Horseradish Relish - £3.39

Spiced Lamb Pie (Tom's Pies) - £3.50

Scone - 2 for £1.70
Cream and jam already in the fridge (I am on holiday and it is Devon you know!)

Darts Farm

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