Dart’s Farm is a curious place, because unlike many people who might read this, I remember when it was still Picfresh. Right, so lets go back 20 years ago and Ronald Dart owned a funny little farm shop that, in my mind, was always tacked on to the side of a larger barn. That barn is roughly where the Deli is now and if you look down from where it is, you can still see what looks like the original doors (I might be wrong of course) where the old entrance used to be.
Now his sons; Paul, Michael and James Dart, run the business (I spied them today and wanted to go up and say hello but it’d be too awkward and they looked busy) and over the last ten years have expanded the site, marketed it to a certain segment of consumer and have generally made Dart’s Farm in to a ‘destination’ for people to go to.
Dart’s Farm has changed beyond recognition from the place I remember when I was growing up as a wee sprog in Ebford. And in many respects not much has changed, certainly in terms of their ethos.
Fresh, local, good quality produce.
There is a fantastic array of different goods on offer. ‘Lifestyle shopping’ is the term that they use to describe everything that isn’t food related, and that lifestyle is not for the short of cash. But even though I am not a regular shopper here, it is still nice to come and browse and have a cup of tea in their lovely little Deli Cafe. Which we did today and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Things I love about Dart’s Farm
Green Valley Cider are based on site, and as you can see from this slightly blurry photo, they have quite literally the largest array of local ales and ciders ever. Obviously they sell their own wares too, but they have a terrific range including English wines.
The Deli Bar, which is a cafe really, but not a cafe as the seats are in spread about, is a nice cafe serving traditional cafe favourites with a range of snacks and light eats. We had most probably the nicest cookie ever, a Triple Chocolate Cookie for 99p which was so rich and gooey, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Prices were very reasonable, staff were politely brisk in service, friendly and very quick to serve. I did find the arrangement of having the seats so far from the serving/ordering point a little odd. But, this was my only picking point as it was not immediately obvious.
3. Food Court
There is a mind blowing choice of stuff that you cannot often get anywhere else. For instance, the pasta shown above is speciality pasta that I have not seen in this part of the world before. London Deli’s are full of the Vallebona brand, but this was the first time I had seen it down this part of the world.
They also seem to be one of the only places that you can buy Korev Cornish Lager. I bought some… it is deelish.
The Fish Shed always always smells nice each time I walk past it. Although I did not stop to eat, I have been here previously. Hint. Check the opening times, because they are sometimes open later then the shop.
To quote the website: The Fish Shed is highly regarded as one of the best Fish and Chip and wet fishmonger’s shops in the country. We serve delicious crisp and crunchy chips with a wide array of different fish, which can be cooked in the traditional batter or grilled as a healthy and tasty alternative.
I came away very happily with a bottle of Korev and a bottle of Green Valley Cider’s ‘Temptation’, a sweet variety of cider for pussies like me.