Fabulous local farm shops
All hail the humble farmshop! Your one-stop shop for locally grown fruit, veg, meat and much more. Here's our pick of the best around Herts & Beds.
I don’t know about you but I love a farm shop, packed to the brim with fresh, muddy and wonky produce, bottles and jars of oils and chutneys, as well as home-baked pies, cakes and treats. Some even have cafés, specialist meat and deli counters and cute animals to coo over, too. So why not ditch the online grocery shop once in a while in favour of a trip to one of these great local farm shops?
Owners Jo and Graham have put their hearts and souls into their fab little shop and kitchen at Ion Bridge farm, which only opened last year and bagged them a well-deserved 2022 Muddy Award! They’re big on creativity (Jo’s background is in food development) and supporting indie producers, so naturally you’ll find tonnes of local faves on the shelves, as well as freshly made and healthy dishes on the menu. Grab a picnic bench in the sunshine and soak up the rural life!
Carpenter’s Nursery and Farm Shop, Sandridge, St Albans
Established in 1923, this family-run nursery has been producing and sourcing local fruit and veg – all pesticide free and predominantly hand picked – for years! As well as their ‘own grown’ veg, you’ll find and in-house Refill Pantry, freshly baked breads, a cheese and deli counter, plus a good selection of local beers, like Farr Brew. There’s also the Potting Shed Café on site where you can treat yourself to a tasty brunch or lunch (it would be rude not to!) and the garden centre is the perfect place to pick up some plants and tools for prettying up your patch. AND how many farm shops do you know that have their very own brand of gin? They’ve teamed up with local distillery to create their very own Carpenter’s Festive gin – yum!
PE Mead and Sons, Wilstone, near Tring
This is my local and I spend a lot of time here. I’m addicted to the frozen croissants and locally made Culture Bakery sourdough plus there’s an array of lovely pressie options, including Chiltern Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oils made at their very own farm, and Campfire gin (Puddingstone Distillery shares a site with the farm shop). They’ve also recently opened their swanky new restaurant, the Farmhouse Kitchen for coffee, cake and hot and cold food. Take a walk round the reservoir afterwards to burn off that cake!
Pearce’s Farm Shop, Buntingford, near Bishop’s Stortford
Open 7 days a week this gorgeous store is not only packed with local food and drink, there’s also a gift and homeware department, on-site butchery, Bridget B’s, and a stunning café with floor-to-ceiling windows taking in the fabulous meadow views. Pop in for a cuppa (or go all out with the afternoon tea), pick up a couple of Christmas hampers and Bob’s your uncle!
Foxholes Farm, Hertford
Thanks to its 100-year history, Foxholes know a thing or two about produce! They’re well stocked with everything you’ll need for the Sunday roast, from gammons to goose fat from their own butchery, plus they sell veg, meat and entertaining boxes to help make life a little bit easier. There’s also a cute farm park for kids (open from Spring), and a glamping site with safari tents and pods (there’s the next mini break sorted!), plus they often run events, such as butchery classes and childrens’ foodie farmer workshops.
Smallford Farm Shop, St Albans
On the site of a family owned nursery this one has a mainline to fresh produce. It’s minimalist in style with an industrial look, selling produce from pallet shelving, like you’d get at a traditional market. There’s a deli stocking cheese and charcuterie (that’s the cheeseboard sorted then!) and the Italian Kitchen Café, where you’ll find cake and coffee to take away or eat in, plus brunch, lunch and Sunday roasts.
Pecks Farm Shop, Leighton Buzzard
Whether it’s store cupboard ingredients, fresh produce or freezer fillers you’re after, Pecks have got you covered. There’s also a decent homes and living section and they offer hampers, fruit boxes, milk delivery and err… hay bales to hire (within a 20 mile radius), so if you’re planning an al fresco summer shindig, look ’em up!
Battlers Green Farm Shop, Radlett
This was the starting point for what is now a rather fancy shopping village in chichi Radlett. Much of the produce comes from the adjacent family farm or is locally sourced where possible, plus you’ll find the usual stock of preserves, chutneys, homemade bread and cakes, English and continental cheeses, plus fine wines and COOK frozen ready meals. Within the Battlers Green Village you’ll also find a butchers, fishmongers, wine merchant, fruiterers, sweet shop as well as interiors, kids’ and pet stores. All the shopping sorted in one fell swoop!
Lower Wilbury Farm Shop, Letchworth
This Muddy Award-winning Farm Shop (2021) is open from Thursday to Saturday. They supply home-reared grass-fed lamb and beef and rare breed pork, as well as all the veggies to go with it. This one might not have the bells and whistles of other farm shops but owners Katie and Dean are real family farmers with a real dedication to amazing local produce and according to you, our readers, they do it best in Herts & Beds.
Bury Lane Farm Shop, Royston
Based on the North Herts side of the Herts/Cambs border, Bury Lane boasts some extensive food and gifting options. Not only is it a farm shop, with a food hall and wine cellar, butchers, fishmongers, deli and bakery, it’s a garden shop, selling plant, tools, furniture and accessories, AND a flower shop stocking blooms grown just metres from the shop and harvested by hand. What more could you ask? How about a café? Yep, it’s got one of those, and even a playbarn for the kids, too!
Nobby’s Farm Shop, Great Billington
Whether it’s for a special occasion or a regular week, you can pre-order everything you need and the chaps at Nobby’s will have it all ready for you for next day collection. They’ve got their own butchery – Boozy Boar (what an awesome name!) – and a good stock of locally produced booze like Wooden Moose and Copper in the Clouds. You can also pick up wool – from the sheep on the farm and pop in to the licenced Baa T-Room while you’re there.