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Local produce in Surrey â€" from field to plate

PUBLISHED: 18:35 24 May 2012 | UPDATED: 22:11 04 October 2012

The enthusiasm for local produce has never been greater and the rise of the permanent farm shop has become something of a bridge between rural and urban worlds

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2012

The enthusiasm for local produce has never been greater and the rise of the permanent farm shop has become something of a bridge between rural and urban worlds. With the agricultural season getting into full swing and farmers raring to show off their wares, Matthew Williams speaks to five of those at the shop front, all looking to make it a little easier to get hold of the freshest and finest foods on your doorstep

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Priory Farm Shop
Sandy Lane, Priory Farm, South Nutfield, Surrey RH1 4EJ
Tel: 01737 822603
Web: www.prioryfarm.co.uk.

Name: Will Edwards
Role: Farm Shop manager

When did your shop first open?
In 1992, Anthony Shinner, a family member and partner of the business at the time, had a vision to offer a superior shopping experience with high quality food, a delicatessen and fruit and vegetables. It started as a few items sold from the greenhouse, but eventually moved to its present premises and over the years has developed into the Priory Farm Shop we know (and love) today.

How much has changed since then?
Since 1992, weve changed dramatically. The shop has expanded, a butchery counter has been fitted and a new larger counter was added last year. We have also started selling gift items and kitchenware.

Whats your best-selling product at the moment?
Very hard to say; our deli and butchery are working exceptionally well. We have a huge range of local and unusual cheeses, and we have a master butcher making all our own sausages on site, preparing any cut of meat our customers require.

Who are the main local producers you work with?
We work with as many local suppliers as we possibly can. We like working with them as, like us, they are really passionate about the products and have a real interest in the produce. Norbury Blue Cheese is a small range of cheeses handmade very near to Dorking. Just So Jellies is another Paula and her husband Jon, who own The Jolly Farmers in Buckland and Fox Revived near Horley, have a brilliant range all handmade by Paula. They are a lovely couple always willing to help out with anything we have going on at the farm. Soupa Soups are handmade soups made by Jane in Leigh; she has a passion behind her produce and her range changes from week to week depending on the seasons.

Do you have any events/new items coming up for local foodies?
Next up for us is Local Food Fortnight, which runs until Sunday May 13, and then our Strawberry Fair food festival weekend, which takes place every summer this year on Saturday June 23 and Sunday June 24.

The Larder
The Medicine Garden, Downside Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3LU
Tel: 01932 989649
Web: www.themedicinegarden.com.

Name: Ruth Lambert
Role: Owner

When did your shop first open?
It opened in November 2011. Id been involved as a volunteer at the not-for-profit walled garden for a year since being made redundant. I had worked in retail in the past and we were planning on opening a farm shop. I decided to take the plunge myself as I am passionate about both supporting local food and the garden itself!

How much has changed since then?
Its only been four months but in that time I have introduced fresh local meat and vastly extended my products from my initial range.

Whats your best-selling product at the moment?
Lancashire Bomb, which is a strong cheese presented in a natural black wax. Not so local but makes a great unusual gift and tastes amazing. Also our Mummy Makes fudge from Farnham.

Who are the main local producers you work with?
There are lots, including: Coffee Real from Dorking; Cut and Dried fruits from Ockley; Flours Bakery from Walton-on-Thames; Little Cake Pop Company from Esher; Manor Farm from Wotton; Norbury Park Farm from Mickleham; Sir Hans Sloane from Byfleet; St. Joans Farm from Leigh, Loseley Bakery from Guildford and Imbhams Farm from Haslemere. One of the reasons I opened the shop was that if you wanted to buy locally there wasnt an easy way to do it. I think we should all focus on growing our local economy.

Do you have any events/new items coming up for local foodies?
On Monday May 7, from 10am to 5pm, were hosting a Local Food Festival in the garden and we will have food stalls, cooking demonstrations from local chefs, live music from local bands and much more. There are always great events at The Medicine Garden, so make sure to visit!

The Butchers Hall & Country Grocer
Forest Green, Surrey RH5 5RZ
Tel: 01306 621188
Web: www.thebutchershall.co.uk.

Name: Emma Margolis
Role: Shop manager and company director

When did your shop first open?
The Butchers Hall and Country Grocer opened in December 2010. After the success of the small shop within The Parrot, the Gotto Family opened the larger outlet, driven by the ideas that Charles Gotto and his son Oliver had for good farming and good food.

How much has changed since then?
It has maintained its principles of locally sourced and seasonal produce. As well as continuing to farm and butcher all our own pork, beef and lamb, and bake, cure and smoke all on site, we have added other produce to the shop. So we now stock, for example, potted herbs, pastas and speciality cooking ingredients.

Whats your best-selling product at the moment?
Our own fresh meat and butchery service is very popular, as well as our renowned slow-cooked pies. Our charcuterie section is growing and very successful. The home-made Coppa is becoming a big seller; customers certainly love the sweet, spicy, cured and smoked pork sausage.

Who are the main local producers you work with?
We stock produce from many local suppliers: Michaela and Neil from Norbury Park Farm supply the delicious Norbury Blue and Dirty Vicar Cheeses; handmade chocolates come from Kokoh in Ewhurst; and Coffee Real based in Capel provide us with beautiful and ethical coffee, which our customers love.

Do you have any events/new items coming up for local foodies?
Here at The Butchers Hall, were maturing the next batch of pickled onions and curing our own pork and beef for charcuterie delights. As for events, were making plans for the Jubilee celebrations and a Pie-Eating Competition!

Fannys Farm Shop
Lodge Farm, Markedge Lane, Merstham, Surrey RH1 3AW
Tel: 01737 554444
Web: www.fannysfarm.com.

Name: Lisa Maiklem
Role: Marketing and Cream Teas by Post distribution

When did your shop first open?
In 1979, Fanny began selling her surplus veg and eggs from a barrow outside the Lodge, which was built by estate workers from Sir Jeremiah Colemans Mustard empire. The Lodge had three chicken sheds, which were converted into tearooms and a farm shop.

How much has changed since then?
In 2002, Fanny built a treehouse, which is hired out for breakfast, lunch and High Tea. Weekends are booked up three months in advance. Weve diversified into Cream Teas by Post, too.

Whats your best-selling product at the moment?
Our ploughmans lunches our quiches are made by Loseley Bakery. Customers usually go home clutching the same ingredients from our shelves.

Who are the main local producers you work with?
We are proud to support 40 local producers from Surrey and Sussex. Loseley Bakery in Guildford supply us with some of our delicious cakes and meringues; Chrissie from Coulsdon makes our stunning cupcakes; Norbury Blue provide their fabulous blue cheese; Conisbee & Son, East Horsley, use our marmalade to make our marmalade sausages; and Paul Cleve, Tim Burke and David Trembath are our local beekeepers who supply us with local honey.

Do you have any events/new items coming up for local foodies?
We are making a pudding room, which seats ten, where customers can have a different weekly pudding and a coffee in a beautiful setting in the kitchen garden.

Village Greens Farm Shop
Coles Lane, Ockley, Surrey RH5 5SS
Tel: 01306 7134674
Web: www.vgfarmshop.com.

Name: James Dampier
Role: Director

When did your shop first open?
We are just celebrating our fifth birthday, since my wife Catherine and I gave up our office jobs and created Village Greens Farm Shop. We grow some of our own fruit and veg and stock a wide variety of other locally produced food as well as other Fair Trade and organic groceries.

How much has changed since then?
We have recently added three new producers: a new chocolate maker, Patagonia Bombons, from Hanna in Dorking; Freedom Fresh Sauces, based in Puttenham near Guildford; and the Surrey Hills Brewery. We have established our growing area thanks to our professional grower, Bev Todd, and turned a field into a market garden. With the help of the National Trust and the local primary school, Scott-Broadwood, we have also built a little bee garden, which is open for people (and bees!) to enjoy.

Whats your best-selling product at the moment?
Last autumn, we installed an Italian coffee machine, which proved a hit in the cold weather. Now its warmer, its even more popular as people can take drinks out to sit in our bee garden. The coffee is roast and ground by Coffee Real just down the road from us!

Who are the main local producers you work with?
We get fantastic beef and lamb from the nearby Ruckmans Farm and free-range chicken from Etherley Farm in Ockley. Ruckmans is affiliated to the RSPCA freedom foods scheme, which means that the animals are looked after according to very high standards. All of Etherleys chickens are free-range.

Do you have any events/new items coming up for local foodies?
We will have tastings in the shop on most Saturdays in May and June and offer bread-making courses with our local baker, Dineke from Crumbs of Capel. In September, we have our Village Greens Food Fair.

Pick your own:
A selection of other tantalising stores

Crockford Bridge Farm
Addlestone KT15 2BU: 01932 852630
Paul and Caroline Smith have farmed in Addlestone for over 20 years and these days grow 25 different crops of fruit and vegetables.

The Farm Shop
Lyne KT16 0AA: 01932 564930
Winners of Chertsey Agricultural Associations best farm shop, florist and butchers in 2011.

Flower Farm Shop
Godstone RH9 8DE: 01883 742288
They pride themselves in sourcing all products not grown on their farm as locally as possible.

Garsons Farm Shop
Esher KT10 8LS: 01372 464778
Complete with a pick-your-own farm, which is the largest in the UK.

The Jolly Farmers
Betchworth RH3 7BG: 01737 221355
A traditional public house with a farm shop that is open until last orders!

Kingfisher Farm Shop
Abinger Hammer RH5 6QX: 01306 730703
As youd expect from a watercress farm, cress is definitely on the menu!

Osney Lodge Farm
South Godstone RH9 8JH: 01342 892216
Guaranteed to tantalise the taste buds of the meat-eaters out there.

Milford GU8 5HU: 01483 520500
Something of a Surrey powerhouse, their seasonal crops find their way on to many restaurant and pub tables.

Shabden Park Farm
Chipstead CR5 3SF: 01737 552744
Reared on the farm, their meat is prepared by experienced butchers.

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