Farm shops no longer just sell fruit and veg. With in-house butchers and bakeries, delis and cafes, we list the best places for a cup of coffee alongside your grocery shop in Essex.
Calcott Hall Farm Shop
Ongar Road, Brentwood CM15 9HS
A family run business for over 40 years, Calcott Hall features produce from over 60 regional suppliers. The shop has a homely feel with rustic wood floors and stacked crates stock-piled with fresh fruit and veg. There’s an in-house butcher, a huge choice of freshly baked bread (the sundried tomato bread is a must-try) and selection of cakes for sweet cravings. Stop by The Barnyard Café for breakfast, light bites and hearty baked potatoes.
The Green Barn Farm Shop
North Benfleet, SS12 9JR
Located on a working farm, the shop stocks homegrown produce including its home reared Aberdeen Angus beef and dairy from the neighbouring farm. Visitors are welcome to browse at a leisurely pace and enjoy a hot drink while watching the cows. The farm hosts a regular market with goods on offer from local businesses. In the lead up to Christmas, the farm is full of festivities with Christmas trees and wreaths and the opportunity for young visitors to see Santa.
Ashlyns Farm & Restaurant
Epping Rd, Epping CM16 6RZ
Housed in a big wooden building, a trip to this farm shop is a day out. The shop itself stocks a wide range of produce, features an on-site butcher and deli which sells fresh homemade scotch eggs, sausage rolls and fluffy pastries. The menu at the restaurant is a tempting mix of small plates, egg dishes, sandwiches and hearty meals. Next door children can visit the animals on the farm and run wild in the softplay barn. Wine lovers can pick up a bottle of plonk The Black Dog Wine Company and keen anglers can fish for carp on the lake. Plan your visit.
Sparrows End Farm Shop
Sparrows Hill House, Newport, Saffron Walden CB11 3TU
The wooden cladded building is perched on a green space complete with a terrace decked out in style. Festoon light hangs from the entrance and quirky outdoor furniture sits invitingly on the lawn; the perfect pitstop for a light lunch. The farm shop may be small, but it stocks a good range of local produce and freshly baked goods delivered every morning, though you’ll need to be quick to snap them up. There’s a good selection of wine, and tastings are held throughout the year. Find out more here.
Blackwells Farm Shop
Herons Farm, Colne Road, Coggeshall, CO6 1TQ
Set in the glorious Coggeshall countryside, the farm shop has a number of awards to its name. Selling the best of the best, most produce is sourced within a 20-mile radius. The on-site butcher is on hand to offer advice and recommendations, and the farm hosted its first butchery class this autumn. Once you’ve chosen your goodies, grab a hot drink and slice of cake, and take a seat on the decking area. More information.
Sarah Green’s Organics
Mark Farm, Tillingham, Essex
If you can’t find the time to get out and about to do your shopping, why not have it delivered to you? Each week’s new crops are listed on the website. Just pick the items you want, place them in your online hamper basket, pay and they will be with you shortly. Boxes range from £8.50 to £20.