Carpenter’s Nursery, Sandridge
Muddy says: Carpenter’s Nursery and its charming new café and restaurant The Potting Shed make a trip to Sandridge on the edge of Heartwood Forest a must.
Carpenter’s Nursery in the village Sandridge, just north of St Albans, has been growing as a family business for 94 years. Originally a garden centre and farm shop, in March 2018 it opened café and restaurant The Potting Shed. In June 2017 Carpenter’s won Best Farm Shop in the Muddy Awards. Outside, you can buy plants grown on site from seed, including herbaceous plants and trees. Inside, there’s a gift shop, with cards, garden equipment and tools. The food shop is stunning and makes you want to fill up your basket. The veg is abundant: with some of the homegrown veg rather knobbly and imperfect and all the better for it. Much of it is grown by the Carpenter family on site: carrots, celeriac, cauliflowers and kale.
The grocery is jam packed with local produce, including beer from Tring Brewery, gin from Puddingstone, granola from Dizzy B, oil from the Chilterns, fudge made in Welwyn Garden City and chocolate handmade in St Albans. Open the door into The Potting Shed and you will be amazed. This beautifully designed cafe and restaurant is completely different from a garden centre cafe. Outside is a patio with stunning views of Herts countryside. Inside the tables and chairs are solid and handmade, using locally sourced recycled wood. You can enjoy coffee and cake at any time, after a walk in Heartwood Forest or before stocking up with plants for your garden. But if you can it’s worth booking a table and allowing a couple of hours to really enjoy yourself. The food is delicious and seasonal, colourful and contemporary. Chef Scott Whitehead combines his love of creative cooking with homegrown produce. Carpenter’s and The Potting Shed are putting Sandridge, together with a host of local producers, firmly on the Hertfordshire map.