Review: Exeter Farmers Market

As I have said before in my blogs, I am very interested in discovering the wealth of local produce that I have available to me in Devon and surrounding counties. Since starting this blog, it has only made me more passionate and keen to try and discover new things. The perfect place to explore this would be a Farmers Market. The Farmers Market nearest to me, in Exeter, was established to help local producers of fruit, vegetables and other foods sell directly to the public.

I went on a very cold Thursday morning to the top of South Street in Exeter, keen to meet all the store holders and learn about their products and produce.

The Old Watch House, Lyme Regis:- This was the first stall I came to. I was greeted by really friendly gentleman who was keen to discuss his stall. To save me having to write too much, he kindly agreed to film a short video. Apologies about the camera work; I don’t claim to be a great camera woman!



They also offer intensive training to brush up on your fish preparation skills, so there really is no excuse not to buy the fish in fresh to prepare yourself! For more information, visit their website.  Make the most of their 20 years of experience and learn how to dress a Crab, gut Fish, fillet Mackerel/Whole Fish, fillet a flat fish, clean a squid, skin fish, shucking scallops, opening oysters and other invaluable tips! Visit their website here

Random cottage:- They specialise in sourcing local cheese from the surrounding areas and try to keep it as local as possible with cheeses mainly from the South West such as Totnes, Okehampton and Tiverton. They also have a separate stall for fresh eggs that are sourced from Rosamondford Farm, Perkins Village, in Exeter. The cheeses I tasted were delicious and creamy and tasted all that bit better knowing that they are all local!

Gardeners Delight:- The stall that was covered in a multi-coloured array of vegetables and treats. Hannah told me how they have been coming to the Farmers Market for 7 years, but have been a nursery for 23 years! According to their website, Hannah and Nick started growing plants in 1989 from their back garden to sell at their local farmers market. In 1991 they purchased 5 acres of farm land and started Gardeners Delight. They are now one of the leading nurseries in North Devon and now have over 10 acres and grow a range of trees, shrubs, roses and clematis along with all the delicious fresh fruit and vegetables that I could see in front of me on their stall. There was also a variety of home-made jams and marmalades, made from their home grown fruits. Visit their website here

Bocaddon Farm Veal:- They told how they have been travelling to this farmers market from South  East Cornwall for 7 years. They produce award winning, welfare friendly veal. Their farm was started in 2006 when Jon and Vicky moved to Bocaddon. Vickie’s brother, Rob, had a dairy farm. In Dairy farming the calves were often unwanted, or being disposed of at birth. Jon and Vickie decided to try and rear some calves for veal. They made sure they lived in open air and had a varied diet. In 2008 Rob took on rearing the calves, allowing Jon and Vicky to concentrate on the preparation and selling of the meat. Tragically in 2010 Rob was killed in an accident. The calves are now reared by a local Farmer, Darrin Hooper, from a farm in Tideford allowing Vicky to continue with the veal business. All meat is cut and prepared in the farm butchery at Bocaddon. To learn more about the Veal, Visit their website here.

Bread of Devon:- This is another family run business which has been trading since October 2003. All bread is hand made with organic flour and olive oil by 2 brothers. They have been attending this farmers market for 8 years. They have also won the Devon Life Food and Drink Award for ‘Best Baker and Confectioner’ 3 times!  They make a wide range of yeasted breads and unyeasted sourdough and soda breads using wheat, spelt, rye, kamut and einkorn organic flours in plain, savoury and fruit flavours. You can find them on-line here.

Sues farmhouse, from Okehampton:- I was attracted to Sues farmhouse with her selection of local hand baked goods. She told me how she has been a part of the farmers Market for 13 years, even when it was in its old location, where the new Princesshay development has been built. Sue makes fresh cakes using traditional baking methods. Sue started baking after losing her animals in the foot and mouth outbreak 12 years ago. Sue can be contacted either on 01837 871271 or bmadge@aol.com.

Blackaller Bees, Jacub Sheep:- Peter told me how he has 18 hives and all honey was fresh and not heated like supermarket honey, so is raw. He was enthusiastic about supporting local produce and was very supportive of my blog. He had a range of honeys on offer. He has kept bees since the age of 12 when he pestered his Mum for his own hive. He has a lifetime of knowledge and is known to use this to help others with their bee-keeping. Visit his website here

Stanbury Game Dealers:- All their meat is wild and local to them. It is all subject to availability, depending on the time of year and what the stalkers and hunters can find. They are fully registered and licensed to deal in game and have a range of different wild game to include Partridge, Pheasant, Pigeon, Squirrel, Hare, Rabbit, Wild Boar, Snipe and Woodcock. They also have game pie mix and game sausages. You can contact them on 0164761149 or thestanburys@googlemail.com.

Goats cheese by Norsworthy Dairy:- I tried a variety of their different Goats Cheese and my particular favourite was the smoked goats cheese- delicious! Norsworthy Dairy Goats was established in 1999 with 40 day-old kids. Twelve months later they were producing milk which was sold to specialist cheese and yoghurt makers. Over the next 2 years the herd expanded to 90 milkers and in February 2002 the goats milk was made into cheese for the first time. There are 3 cheeses to try, Norsworthy, Gunstone and Posbury. Norsworthy is a medium soft full-fat cheese with a mild flavour and is ready in 2-4 weeks. Gunstone is a washed curd semi-hard cheese ready in 6-8 weeks. It has a light buttery texture and a fuller flavour with ageing. Posbury is a medium soft cheese with garlic, onion, horseradish and paprika ready in 4-6 weeks. Visit the website here

Good Games Meats. Good Game are artisans and aim to make the best tasting game and cured meat in the world. They use curing salt and natural Exe estuary air. From a small facility in Topsham, they use traditional simple methods to make great food and look to the Italians for inspiration and use more natural methods. They have a signature sausage, which is a Venison Salami and a naturally air dried Coppa Ham. I tried some of their cured meats and they are totally delicious, dark and rich. Visit their website here.

Washford Pyne Lamb and Beef- Made from Shetland lamb and sheep, rich and delicious. This means lots of Shetland wool and they sell woollen products through Dora's pure Shetland wool. You can contact Anne Saunders on 01884861527 or ahs563@hotmail.co.uk.

Moonbeams Farm- This stall, all the way from Somerset, is a fine quality pork producer. They’re free range, natural and ethical. Their aim is To return to the family tradition and to “keep Britain farming”. Their Old Spot sausages are winners of Life Magazines “Best Food Product of the Year 2013" What’s also exciting is that Jez very kindly gave me some of these award winning sausages to cook and try out for myself! I cannot wait to try them, and I will be writing a separate blog all about it when I do. They look delicious, even though they’re raw! Visit their website here.

Nourish- Vegetarian and Vegan delicatessen. All ingredients are locally sourced and hand made into wonderful vegan and vegetarian pies and pastries. While there are options available for vegetarians, there are very few people who cater especially to a vegan diet as well. You can contact them on 07533336059 or lynda.nourish@yahoo.com.

Farmhouse Pies and Pasties- This store was very popular, it took a good 5 mins of customers coming and purchasing his goods before I actually got the chance to chat with him! He told me how he has been on this farmers market for 10 years and all pies and pasties are home-made, fresh and made with local beef, duck, chicken, pork & vegetables. “The secret to a good pie is always in the pastry” Good tip, I’ll be taking that on board! You can contact them on farmhousepiesandpasties@btinternet.com or 01392 882266                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Shillingford organics- I mentioned this earlier in my blog when I visited Emma’s Bread and she told me how she started selling her bread at Shillingford organics.They Supply Exeter & The Teign Valley through their veg Box Scheme, Farmers Markets & Shops. They produce Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Leeks, Brussel Sprouts, Spinach, Parsnips, Squash and Parsley. The veg box scheme delivers fresh seasonal vegetables to Collection Points in Exeter (Thursdays) and the Teign Valley (Friday) that are often picked the same day that they are delivered from a farm 3 miles from the city centre. Visit their website here.

Otter Vale Poultry- They are based in Honiton and are a family run business that produce some of the finest organic and free range Chickens, Turkey, Geese and Guinea Fowl across the South West of England and the UK. The chickens are reared from day old chicks and take between 10 and 12 weeks to mature, which is twice as long as conventional chicken. The farm is situated on Blackdown hills and has an organic standard and organic certification. They have been a poultry farm for 50 years! Vistit their website here

All of the store holders that I spoke to were equal in their passion for what they are doing. Some have travelled far to stand in the cold for hours to sell their produce. It is an excellent spot to buy fresh ingredients and to use something that you would never normally cook at home. So, go on, try something new today. Push the boundaries and cook something you have never cooked before. When you’re tucking in to your scrummy meal, feel comforted in the fact that a local producer has taken your money and not a super market giant.

Exeter Farmers Market is every Thursday at the top of South Street

L x
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