Frequent these excellent establishments and pick up a free Taster
Loch Fyne Oysters (Cairndow, Scotland)
“At Loch Fyne Oysters, we pride ourselves on our provenance, quality and sustainability. Loch Fyne started with one inspirational idea; to grow oysters in the clear, fertile waters of Loch Fyne. We have developed into a cluster of businesses whose success is built on an honest approach to superb quality food. The company has always abided by the guiding environmental principles established by the founders, John Noble and Andy Lane. We are determined to ensure that only the very best produce, farmed and fished to the highest quality and environmental standards, reaches the kitchens and plates of our customers.”
Low Sizergh Barn (Cumbria) – Farmshop and Tea Room. NB also doing Christmas Hampers
This venture includes a working farm and farm trails, as well as a nationwide online shop which is definitely worth a look, offering local specialities such as BlueBird beer (which The Taster dimly recalls, from a walking holiday in the Lake District, as quite excellent), Kendal mintcake and Sticky Toffee sauce, plus some intriguing-sounding things like Toffee Vodka and Damson Delicacies. The Christmas hampers look excellent, with some good themes (Ginger Lovers Hamper; Cumbrian Storecupboard Hamper, Chocolate Lovers Hamper, etc) ranging from £25 to larger corporate hampers at £90
Pillars of Hercules – Organic Café & Vegboxes
Organic farmshop, cafe and restaurant in Cupar; also offers camping, vegboxes, wwoofing and farm trails. Recently awarded “UK Best Small Organic Store;” wares include organic wine, beer & cider as well as foodstuffs; organic flowers and potted plants including culinary herbs; you can request specific plants by ringing or emailing Judy. Restaurant now does veggie breakfasts from 9am.
Ramus Seafood Emporium – for Responsibly Sourced Fish
It’s not easy finding responsibly sourced fish but Ramus is one answer: even if you can’t visit their shops in Harrogate and Ilkley, they recently introduced fish boxes, delivered to your door, and have set up partnerships with day boat (ie small-scale) fishermen in south-west England. They claim to provide full traceability on all their products and, having leafed through the website, The Taster cannot see anything to set off alarm bells (no flatfish, for example) — so you don’t need to worry about sustainability, just order with confidence.
We’re a bit prejudiced in favour of Etherington’s since they provided us with this excellent hamper for our Readers Survey Draw (have a crack at it HERE). Hampers aside, however, Etherington’s Farm Shop, in Cornwall, is a great example of an eco-conscious food enterprise. Its poultry is free-range, its beef is pasture-fed, and many of its grocery items are created by local craftspeople. It has a lot of Cornish delicacies, in particular, such as Cornish sea salt, Cornish chocolate, puddings, cookies and pickles.
68 Eastgate Street. Beautiful decor, very chic, good wines, imaginative food, with vegetables and flowers grown on its own allotment round the back. Plus plenty of free copies of The Taster – can’t get much better than that
The Wine School of Cheshire, Chester
43 White Friars. Our very own wine columnist, Richard J Smith, founded and runs the Wine School, which provides wine tastings, masterclasses, and special and bespoke Wine Events. See the website to make bookings or buy gift vouchers.
The Environment Centre, High Wycombe
The Chilterns Shopping Centre. Passing the eco-word down the generations! Has a gardening group, half-term activities for children, talks and conferences.