Under the canvas of the tepee and gathered around the wonderfully decorated tables were an abundance of all things Devon and local. The many people behind labels of the fantastic produce you will find on the shelves at Darts Farm, as well as Michael, Jim and Paul, the three Dart Brothers, the Master Butchers and the friendly staff who make up this multi award winning (the list gets longer every year) Farm Shop.
Guests were treated to local drinks, Gin & Tonic (Salcombe Gin & Wicked Wolf with Luscombe Tonic Water) on the tables were bottles of Pebblebed and Lilly Farm wines to name just a few.
Outside Alastair and Philip were manning the fire where three whole lambs had been cooking over the fire since about 8am that morning (Asado style cooking) and another tent full of all the delicious hot and cold dishes which the Darts chefs had been busy making and also savories and sweets from all the wonderful producers from pasties to pastries, each dish labelled so we knew which product/producer it was from.
The lamb was exceptional as was every little piece of food I could put onto my plate. There were a few celebratory bakes specially made for the occasion which looked fantastic too.
After tucking into the amazing food from Devon’s exceptional larder, the Dart Brothers gave a speech and told us the story from the beginning. All very interesting and it is wonderful to see where the Farm Shop is today and to learn about the plans for the future – the next 25 years.
Sandford Orchards will be taking over the reigns of the Cyder Barn and brief details of the new Artisan School of Food and Drink launching soon. I will be keeping a look out for details on that.
For me, Darts Farm is one of my favourite regular haunts. Not just for the fantastic produce from the farm shop fresh from the fields, and Butchers with the friendly service to boot, you’ve also got the well-stocked Kitchen shop, Gift shop, The Orange Tree, Deli, Florist, Restaurant and Café. Oh and not forgetting the Fish Shed, Fired Earth, Treatment Loft, RSPB Shop and Cotswold Outdoor Shop from memory.
It is a ‘Shopping Village’ and an excellent one at that. Then there are the events which are hosted by the local artisan producers which will certainly tickle those taste buds, informative butchery masterclasses, Cheese, Chilli, Gin tastings and the Festive Evening is a must for me along with daily in-store tastings.
Then you have the Maize maze which is very popular in the summer, family camp weekend, along with the sunflower picking which raises a fantastic amount of money for charity, the animals and the play equipment which is great for visiting families and holiday makers.
I remember visiting over 20 years ago when it was a small greenhouse type building selling plants and fresh vegetables and I took my little ones to play outside. Now living nearby and on my route home from work, I pop in to buy fresh local produce, get advice from the friendly butchers (fill my basket with some super pieces of meat), items for my cooking competitions, recipe making at home and to stock up on a few other items, including charcoal for my BBQ.
There is something for everyone and I’m sure you all have your favourite memories and reasons to visit. Of course if you can’t get to visit, (it’s open 8am til 7pm most days) you can shop online too.
Wishing Darts Farm a very Happy 25th Anniversary from all of us at Dining Devon.
Where is it?
Darts Farm Village, Topsham, Clyst St George, Topsham, Exeter EX3 0QH Tel: 01392 878200