Here And Now Magazine - September 2006
As demand increases for good quality local produce, the farm shop is becoming a great place to do your local shopping. Not only is it a healthier option, but you will be supporting local farms at the same time. Local chef Maxine McCombie visits some of the best farm shops in Cornwall.....
Cornwall is rapidly becoming a global food destination. Quality restaurants are appearing one after the other, serving a mix of traditional Cornish fare, fashionable haute cuisine and more simple dishes prepared with quality ingredients. People are flocking to sample the delights the county has to offer, and that can only be a good thing. However, where do these restaurants source their ingredients, and better still, where can locals buy the quality local produce that is being raved about?
Cornwall is home to a multitude of farms, growing and rearing fantastic produce right on our doorstep. This is something we all have heard about, but until recently, the tricky part for the shopper was trying to purchase the produce without visiting a multitude of suppliers. Traditionally, most of us had the choice of several butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and bakers in our towns and villages from which to buy. Those days seem a distant memory, where today big convenience stores far out-number the local shop.
The trend is clearly visible, with most Cornish towns having two or three of these 'super' markets to choose from. There are continued concerns over the competitiveness of British supermarkets. None of the big players seem particularly dedicated to supporting local producers, instead beating down prices to a point where many smaller local farms can no longer continue to operate. In Cornwall, as in many parts of the UK, there has been a revival of local shops, especially high-quality butchers. Smaller-scale producers want a supply-line to get the food to the people, and the farm shop is becoming a great place to do your shopping.
Keith and Gill Barrett, third generation farmers at Trevilley, have established a successful shop selling their own, and over 50 other, Cornish producers' wares. Four years ago, Keith and Gill set out to provide 'local food for local people', and they have managed to do just that. Their home-made scones and jam seem to going down a treat with holidaymakers craving a 'proper' Cornish cream tea!
The farm provides much of the produce for sale in the shop including Angus/South Devon cross beef, and hand-reared lamb. The farm also provides free-range poultry around Christmas, for which orders are advised. Vegetables are sourced from several different local producers, and they grow a wide range of salad leaves, beans, squashes and other vegetables, which are picked daily on the farm. A vegetable box delivery is available in the local area and the family hope to expand this side of the business with their daughter and her husband when they come on board next month. The shop has a kitchen attached, where cakes, bread and pies are made using farm produce, and the well-stocked freezer in the shop enables customers to take home a healthy meal to be ready in minutes.
The farm shop is open all year, Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5.30pm. Saturday is a particularly good day to visit, just as the home-made pasties are coming out of the oven! Trevilley is setting a standard for quality farm shops, both in their produce and overall service to the customer.