Brimming with flavour and made with love

FROM organic vegetables and fruit to home-cooked cuisine, the North-East is full of culinary gems.

FROM organic vegetables and fruit to home-cooked cuisine, the North-East is full of culinary gems. And with so much in the Press about GM foods and the buying power of supermarkets, more people are turning to farm shops, organic food outlets, farmers’ markets and high-quality food shops.

Brocksbushes Farm Shop and Tea Rooms is in picturesque Northumberland surroundings, just 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Newcastle on the A69.

Brocksbushes has award-winning homemade foods, as well as a fully stocked farm shop.

It is renowned for its home-grown soft fruits and superb pick-your-own fields. The farm grows 35 acres of soft fruit and five of vegetables and provides fresh fruit and vegetables for picking from mid-June to the end of October.

North Country Organics, at the Airport Industrial Estate in Kenton, Newcastle, aims to provide customers with best-quality organic fruit and vegetables at affordable prices.

It works closely with The North-East Organic Programme to stock as much local produce as possible. It uses prominent suppliers, such as Northumbrian Quality Meats, Acorn Dairy, TPF Organics and Nafferton Farm.

Most of the produce on sale in this Routier-listed family-run farm shop at North Acomb, near Stocksfield, Northumberland, is either grown or made on the spot. Ham and bacon are cured on the premises and own-recipe sausages are sold alongside milk, homemade butter from the farm’s Friesian herd, British cheeses and free-range eggs.

“Low on mileage but high on taste” has always been the ethos at Blagdon Farm shop, off the A1 north of Newcastle. The shop is committed to bringing fresh and tasty food to the plates of local people and to top restaurants.

Here you’ll find free-range and rare-breed meat including pork, chicken, guinea fowl and duck plus fresh seasonal vegetables.

Vicky and Peter Moffitt run Vallum Farm Shop and Cafe, near Stamfordham, Northumberland. About 50% of the stock on their shelves is from producers who trade at Hexham Farmers’ Market.

The pair use as many products from Northumberland as possible: vegetables when they are available, local jams, chutneys, oats and flour from Heatherslaw, Chainbridge Honey, salmon and bacon from the Bywell Smokery, cheese from the Northumberland Cheese Company, sausages from Ian Byatt, of Stannington, and Doddington ice cream.

Why not try their pork and chestnut stuffing from a family recipe? Or sample Vallum yoghurt which comes in four flavours, honey, stem ginger, maple and natural. Vallum Farm is right on the Roman Wall, with great views.

Chirton Fisheries specialises in fresh fish and shellfish caught locally and off Scotland.

The family business, run by Paul Robinson, recently moved from the Greenmarket, after 31 years, to the Grainger Market.

Paul said: “It’s a really positive move for the business. We have a much bigger display here and are benefiting greatly from passing trade, which we didn’t get much of tucked away in the corner of the Greenmarket.”

Hugh Annett and partner Sarah Oakey opened The Country Barn Farm shop, Widdrington, in August last year. The shop’s layout and vast variety of stock lines has earned it the title of “Harrods of the North”, according to one customer. There is a butchery with tender beef and lamb from Widdrington Farm itself, while the patisserie counter offers home baked bread and fresh scones. There’s also a wide range of local produce including milk, honey, ice cream, eggs, fruit and vegetables, crafts and stationery.

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