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The Thread

Best of British: Farm Shops

21st October 2013

From the highlands of North Wales and Scotland to the open fields of East Anglia, approximately 70% of land in the UK is used for agriculture. With this in mind, we have to ask ourselves why the food we buy on a daily basis travels halfway round the world before it reaches our tables. With unbeatable quality local food, farm shops are the perfect alternative to shopping in supermarkets. Prices are competitive, food miles are minimal and the experience is far more personal than anything you would get in a large chain stores.

By supporting your local rural community, small family-run businesses and our British farming heritage, you can rest assured that the food on your table is safe, fresh and completely delicious so we’ve put together a selection of Britain’s best:

Ludlow Food Centre, Shropshire

Situated on the 8,000 acre Oakly Park Estate, this charming farm shop is brimming with beef, lamb and Gloucester Old Spot pork reared on the estate itself. The bakery on-site produces fresh loaves daily, cheeses are made in the estate dairy and puddings, pasties and pies are all made in the estate kitchens. (Bromfield, Ludlow. ludlowfoodcentre.co.uk)

Whitmuir Organics, Midlothian

The key selling point at Whitmuir Farm is ‘organic’. With a variety of 35 different crops grown in a vegetable field 850 ft above sea level, this working farm just 16 miles south of Edinburgh prides itself on bringing you delicious, sustainable food straight from the source. With a butcher, bakery and restaurant on site, the aim here is to be productive, diverse and educational as well as providing delicious, fresh food. (Lamancha, Midlothian. whitmuirorganics.co.uk)

Hooton’s Homegrown, Anglesey

Renowned for its lush green pastures, Anglesey is the perfect place to rear the delicious Welsh Black beef and lamb that is sold at Hooton’s. With the promise that they work in ‘food metres, not miles’, this is carefully sourced, mouthwateringly delicious produce at it’s best. You’ll also find pies, ready meals, cakes, jams and chutneys made on-site and other artisan products from the surrounding area.

Churchtown Farm Organic Farm Shop, County Down

Run by John Orr and his son Dale, this ever-growing farm shop is at the forefront of organic movement in Northern Ireland. They sell superior quality meat sourced locally in Co Antrim, farm-fresh veggies from Omagh and Comber and other pantry products aimed at the ethically minded consumer. (Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland.)

Lobbs Farm Shop, Cornwall

Set in a charming building full of wooden beams and the homey smell of freshly baked bread, Lobbs Farm Shop looks out over more than 800 acres of gorgeous Cornish farmland. You’ll find beef and lamb from the fields outside, farm-fresh veg and other pantry products provided by locals selling their fare. An unmissable visit for anyone who loves local living, wholesome food and Cornish charm. (Lobbs Farm, Cornwall. lobbsfarmshop.com)

Westmorland Farm Shops, Tebay Services

Just one mile away from the busy M6 in Cumbria is the Dunning family farm. The lamb and beef reared here, along with fresh produce from over 70 northern producers, are sold in the forward-thinking Westmorland Farm Shop at Tebay services. Home to a whole host of British cheeses, fresh bread and homemade pies, the extensive deli counter and food shop has been described as the closest the motorway network comes to the Harrods food hall. (Tebay services, between J38 & J39 on the M6. westmorland.com)

Knitsley Farm Shop, County Durham

With an artisan bakery and butchery at the heart of the business, Knitsley farm shop is home to some of the most delicious farm-fresh food in the North East. You’ll find a selection of the areas best cheeses, stone-baked bread, carefully sourced meat and plenty of local accompaniments. The shop and on-site café are both full of friendly staff who are passionate about the produce they’re selling. (Nr. Consett. County Durham. knitsleyfarmshop.co.uk)

The Barn Yard, Kent

The Barn Yard is proud to be home to an extensive range of food and produce, carefully sourced from the local village and surrounding area. Try their home baked cakes for an afternoon treat or fill the fridge with their local cheeses, free-range eggs and farm-fresh fruit and veg. You can pick your own strawberries, raspberries and apples on-site or just sit back and relax in The Snoring Owl coffee shop. (Gore Farm, Upchurch, Kent. the-barnyard.com)

Willington Fruit Farm Shop, Cheshire

Willington Fruit Farm is a family run business and Farm Shop established since 1950 surrounded by the Sandstone trail & Delamere Forest. Inside the rustic farm shop you’ll find a wide variety of top quality fruit, vegetables, salad and cut flowers available in season. Alongside locally sourced honey, Cheshire Farm Ice Cream, jams & preserves, Cheshire free range eggs and yogurt, and the Fruit Farm’s award winning home pressed apple juice. (Hillside Farm, Nr Kelsall, Tarporley, Cheshire. willingtonfruitfarm.co.uk)

About 'The Thread'

Here at Cotton Traders, we like to do things a little differently. Our reputation has been built on outstanding quality, a sense of community and keeping our customers interests at heart. The Thread is just that – a space for sharing things we know our customers enjoy, whether it’s travel, eating, staying active and healthy or enjoying sneak-peeks behind-the-scenes at Cotton Traders.

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