With its verdant countryside and stunning coastline, it’s easy to think of Dorset as just an area of outstanding natural beauty when it is, in fact, much more than that. The region has long been a centre for farming, producing top quality fruit and vegetables in addition to excellent meat and dairy. Guests at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa and at The Acorn Inn can get a taste of the region’s bounty at Dorset’s finest farm shops, which offer everything from vegetables picked from the ground that morning to cheese made on site. Here’s our pick the best farm shops in Dorset.
Symondsbury Farm Shop & Store
Part of the beautiful Symondbury Estate, the Symondsbury Store showcases the estate’s bountiful produce alongside an extensive range of award winning, homemade jams, jellies and chutneys. There’s also a daily choice of fresh meat, cheeses, wine and beer including Colmers Ale, which is made on site. Located next door you’ll find Symondsbury Kitchen, which serves up breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea using produce from the store.
Gold Hill Organics
Located in the pretty village of Child Okeford, find the pick of the countryside’s crop at Gold Hill Organics. The shop is situated in the courtyard of Gold Hill Organic Farm and all the vegetables on sale here are freshly plucked from the soil each morning, proof of which lies in their superlative flavour. The array of organic produce also extends to meat, dairy, fresh bread and ice cream. Look out for the excellent cheeses made by James’s Cheeses, the farm’s on-site cheesemaker.
Vines Close Farm, Sturminster Marshall
Open for over 50 years, Vines Close Farm offers a full spectrum of farm goods, from logs and hay to horse feed. However, it’s particularly well known for its butchers, which sells locally sourced meat and tasty homemade pies. Be sure to pick up a bottle of Dorsetshire Sauce to take home, a unique take on the classic Worcestershire condiment, it’s also gluten free aand vegan.
Home Farm Shop, Tarrant Gunville
Alongside its reputation for fantastic meat and ready prepared meals, Home Farm Shop is also known for its hampers which make incredibly thoughtful gifts. The Dorset Delight Hamper comes highly recommend and includes a generous selection of locally made goodies, such as Dorset honey, Jurassic apple juice, chocolate chip biscuits, Dorset tea and chutney. Pick up a few handy fridge essentials too in the form of some local preserves, delicious Dorset cheese as well as antipasti.
Felicity’s Farm Shop, Morcombelake
Combining local farm produce with a careful pick of gourmet British artisan goodies, it’s easy to see why Felicity’s Farm Shop has previously been awarded Farm Shop of the Year in the Dorset Magazine Food, Drink and Farming Awards. Be sure to try some of the locally made jams, preserves and chutneys. There’s also a vibrant selection fruit and vegetables from local growers in Marshwood Vale alongside a charming selection of homeware. The adjoining café serves up tasty breakfasts, lunches and teas and, on a fine day, the coastline views from the outdoor seating area are hard to beat.
Guests at both Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa and The Acorn Inn will also have a chance to sample the finest Dorset produce in both hotels’ restaurants.