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With cutting food miles becoming an increasing priority in these environmentally aware times, MATTHEW WILLIAMS brings you a few of Surrey's best farm shops, perfect for getting your hands on fresh local produce

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Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2009. Updated October 2011

With cutting food miles becoming an increasing priority in these environmentally aware times, MATTHEW WILLIAMS brings you a few of Surrey's best farm shops, perfect for getting your hands on fresh local produce

Crockford Bridge Farm, Addlestone
Paul and Caroline Smith have farmed at Crockford Bridge in Addlestone for over 20 years. These days, they grow 25 different crops of fruit and vegetables for their pick-your-own and farm shop, which they opened eight years ago. To them, freshness and flavour is what is important and all the crops grown on the farm are picked daily for the shop, so that their vitamin content is at its highest. In March 2007, local butcher Maurice Jones & Son joined the farm shop and they continue to run an outstanding fresh meat counter, selling a large variety of free-range meat, poultry and barbecue specialities. Formerly known as Pyles Farm, the estate was once owned by the Locke-King family of Woburn Park and Brooklands fame.




Fanny's Farm Shop, Merstham
Celebrating their 30th year in business, Fanny's Farm is a rustic oasis near Merstham. It was back in 1979 that owner Fanny Maiklem began selling local vegetables and produce from the gate at her house. Nowadays, despite having no on-line electricity (they instead run off a generator), Fanny and her daughter Nellie continue to provide fantastically fresh produce direct from their farm. The farm is also famous as a quirky haven to enjoy an afternoon tea - or, quite literally, high tea! For those with a head for heights, they have a tree house that can be hired for parties. They also do a good line in home delivered hampers and gift boxes, all packed in, er, popcorn!




The Farm Shop, Chertsey
Winners of Chertsey Agricultural Associations best farm shop, florist and butchers 2011, The Farm Shop has celebrated over 30 years of service to the community. Having started by selling fresh fruit and vegetables at the gate on a Coster Barrow, which has now become their logo, this progressed into the shop that stands today. TheAshford family has been involved in farming for over 50 years, with the third generation just beginning with The Farm Shop. Over the years, they have grown to sell fruit and vegetables, fresh cut flowers, plants, patio planters, ceramic pots, trees and an extensive range of plants, bread, cakes, cheese, ham, cottage cheese, milk, pies and quiches. They are also home to Martin's Butchers, Flowers by Samantha Jane, and The Tea Room.



  • The Farm Shop, Hardwick Lane, Lyne, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 0AA: 01932 564930



Garsons Farm Shop, Esher
With more than one hundred cheeses on their counter, fans of fromage will be more than satisfied with a visit to Garsons Farm Shop in Esher. Its core business stems from fresh produce, much of which can be found on their pick-your-own farm, which is the largest in the UK. Garsons also offers all kinds of fineries, which they see as their 'one-up' on the supermarkets. Four generations of the Thompson family have produced fruit and veg on the farm since 1871 and this family passion transfers to the shop, where staff are given ownership of their own particular sections. Garsons offers a fantastic day out for all the family with pick-your-own, ideas for growing and making your own and, of course, the farm shop to provide you with all the ingredients.



  • Garsons, Winterdown Road, Esher KT10 8LS: 01372 464778



The Jolly Farmers, Betchworth
A traditional public house with a twist, at the Jolly Farmers in Betchworth you'll also find a farm shop that is open until last orders! Owned by Jon and Paula Briscoe, who previously ran two successful bar/restaurants, they wanted to embark on a wider project combining a number of their personal values and desires. Last year, they picked up the Countryside Alliance National Rural Retailer of the Year, appeared on The Alan Titchmarsh Show (where he named them one of his 'National Treasures') and have just been named national finalists in The Publican 'Food Pub of the Year', the winner of which is to be announced later this month. A visit to The Jolly Farmers would not be complete without a wander around their farm shop, where they endeavour to support local producers and suppliers.




Kingfisher Farm Shop, Abinger Hammer
As you'd expect from a watercress specialist, cress is most definitely on the menu at the popular Kingfisher Farm Shop in Abinger Hammer. Run by Barrie Arminson, his wife Margaret and their daughter Marion, it continues a long family tradition of providing high-quality, locally produced food for the discerning consumer - in fact, Barrie's great grandfather started growing watercress back in 1850. The farm shop has been an increasingly important part of the business since the family began selling fruit and vegetables in 1971, and the watercress packing shed at Abinger Hammer became the present shop in 1999. As well as cress, they offer the whole spectrum of local produce and also have their own off-licence section, which stocks English wines, beers from Surrey and Sussex and cider from Herefordshire.



  • Kingfisher Farm Shop, Abinger Hammer RH5 6QX: 01306 730703



Lower Roundhurst Farm, Haslemere
Relaunched last autumn, Lower Roundhurst Farm continues with its philosophy that the quality of their animals' lives has a great bearing on the quality of the meat produced. Moya and Richard Connell, who took over the farm in October 2004, say that organic farming produces livestock that are robust and able to resist disease, which is better for the animals and better for us. And so their Farm Gate Shop sells deliciously tender beef, pork and seasonal lamb, along with hearty breakfasts in their caf. They also provide as many locally produced home-made items as possible and are continually increasing their range. Slightly off the beaten track, they are well worth a visit - and a Mother's Day tea on Sunday March 22 could be the perfect opportunity.



  • Lower Roundhurst Farm, Tennysons Lane, Haslemere GU27 3BN: 01428 656455



Osney Lodge Farm, South Godstone
Guaranteed to tantalise the taste buds of the meat-eaters out there, Osney Lodge in Godstone is particularly proud of its herd of Sussex cattle, including champion bull Harry (above). They supply meat to various pubs around the county including The Farriers and The Albany, in Guildford, and the Dog and Pheasant in Brook. Owner Graham Page, who has been running the farm for 20 years, says that their farm shop is a little bit special - in that the butcher's area comes complete with a glass window so customers can check just what they are getting. "You'll see the odd customer indicating how thick they want their cut through the window!" he adds. Their handmade sausages are the talk of the town and, as well as the more regular produce you'd expect from a farm shop, they also have an off-licence that is home to over a hundred real ales.




The Parrot Inn, Forest Green
Well-knownfor its fantastic food, The Parrot Inn in Forest Green not only has its own farm shop but also its own farm. The beef, lamb, mutton and pork on offer, as well as eggs and pies, all come directly from their Surrey Hills farm, located just a few miles down the road. It means, of course, that their pub meals are about as fresh as you can get, but there's also plenty for you to take home, too. Chutneys, pickles and so on are all made at The Parrot from vegetables and fruits from Secretts (more of whom below). The owners even went to Italy and personally harvested the olives for their olive oil. Of course, being in a pub, another bonus is that it's possible to shop with a drink in hand, too!




Secretts, Milford
Having celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, Secretts is something of a Surrey powerhouse when it comes to farm shops. Their seasonal crops are harvested fresh every day and find their way on to restaurant and pub tables across the county and further afield. Their fantastically fresh salads, fruit and veg can also, of course, be found in Secretts Farm Shop, which was once the stables for the farm's shire horses. They also have a specialist cheese counter, which is home to over 300 varieties from around the world. This family company was founded in 1908 by Frederick Augustus Secrett, a highly respected horticulturalist, and has been growing speciality vegetables and salads since 1937. Timbered barn buildings also house a flower shop and delightful 1930s style tea room.




Priory Farm Shop, South Nutfield
At Priory Farm Shop in South Nutfield, the emphasis has long been on supporting smaller suppliers and, in 2008, they added over 30 new, artisan-style producers. This year, the farm is planning to focus on a different food region each month and will be highlighting specialities from around the UK, inviting producers to get involved. The farm shop is a treasure-trove of unusual items and the staff go out of their way to help the customers. Recent requests have included, of all things, cheese wedding cakes, which allow the happy couple to select whole cheeses from their favourite regions. "It makes a change from the traditional rich fruit cake," says farm shop manager Gerry McElhatton. "We're finding they're increasingly popular and have the added benefit of doubling up as a cheese course. Perfect in a credit crunch!"




Shabden Park Farm Shop, Chipstead
Owners Mark and Kirstie Banham are particularly proud of their meat, and so they should be. Reared on the farm, their experienced butchers then prepare the meat using traditional methods. One of their biggest selling cuts is mutton, and they are also members of the Mutton Renaissance Club, which was launched in 2004 by the Prince of Wales to support British sheep farmers. They are also fans of tracklements (meat accompaniments) and their shop is packed full of locally produced sauces, mustard and chutney. The farm is located within a protected site of Surrey Wildlife Trust, who manage it on a lease from Surrey County Council, and Mark and Kirstie are firm believers of using traditional farming methods for the benefit of the countryside and its wildlife habitats.




Village Greens Farm Shop, Ockley
South East regional finalist in last year's Countryside Alliance awards, Village Greens in Ockley has a strong family feel that attracts customers from all over the area. Their local sourcing policy, and the fact they can tell you exactly where their produce comes from, is something they take especially seriously. "We love being the ones to reveal to our friends and customers that the gorgeous wine, chocolate, cheese etc that they have just tasted was in fact produced less than seven miles away," says owner James Dampier. "Yes, there really is a chocolate maker in Dorking, a vineyard in Warnham and a soup maker in Holmwood!" James and his wife Catherine gave up high-flying desk jobs to start the shop and spend more time with their three daughters. They feel that by giving local producers an additional market, they are doing their bit to help keep the countryside alive.




For opening times, it is best to get in touch directly with the farm shop you want to visit.

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