Blog: A family affair at Morcombelake...from the Jurassic larder
FARM shops – why should you support them? Because they bring us the best produce of the area at affordable prices and help the rural economy.
It really is that simple – support your local farm shop and you are not only sure to be buying local and artisan food produced with care and passion, but you will also be spreading your money further, doing more good for more people and in the process boosting the local economy, rather than pouring your pennies into the coffers of global corporations and their corporate shareholders.
There have been a number of reports in recent years which try to put a comparative value on the benefits to the local economy of money spent in supermarkets and chain stores against the same sum spent with farm shops and local independently owned shops.
The most often quoted are that £10 spent in a locally owned shop will generate £25 for the local economy compared with the same sum at supermarkets generating £14.
The New Economics Foundation is a good source of information on many aspects of the rural and urban economy, sustainable development and related issues.
Visit the website www.neweconomics.org
Felicity’s Farm Shop third birthday
It was a brave move to start a new business while the country was still deep in recession – but for Felicity Parkin opening her farm shop in an unprepossessing former garage on the eastern edge of Morcombelake has proved a great success.
Felicity’s Farm Shop celebrates its third birthday in November and Felicity and her family are looking forward to developing their growing business with more of their own home-made and home-grown products and stocking more food, drink and other products from local producers and makers.
It is very much a family affair, with Felicity herself in charge of the large, well-stocked shop, her sister Penny running The Filling Station, the drop-in and take-away cafe, Felicity’s son Tom providing rare breed pork and his brothers Harry and Alexander helping out in the shop as their studies permit.
The location has helped Felicity and Penny to build up their business – passing motorists heading east or west on the busy A35 are glad of somewhere to stop and stock up, whether it is coffee and a sandwich to take with them on their journey or meat, bread, vegetables and more to stock up their holiday cottage.
They are also a valuable facility for the local community, providing essentials and indulgences, excellent locally grown fruit and vegetables, charcuterie from Capreolus, local milk, cream and cheeses, bread from Paul’s Bakery at Seaton, salad and burger dressings and wonderful fruit drinks from Caroline Bellinger, Dorset Farms, Dorset Nectar, Mamma Bonbons chocolate, Pinks Organics sun-dried tomatoes, chilli jellies, tapenades and more, and locally made preserves and chutneys.
The meat stocked at the shop includes Clive Sage's Wyld Meadow lamb and beef, and Bellair Haye Pork, farmed by Felicity's son Tom Summers on land originally belonging to her parents and left to her brother in nearby Whitchurch Canonicorum. He started with four Gloucester Old spots last year and now has approximately 100 free range animals. He specialises in Gloucester Old Spots and British Lops, but there are also Tamworths, Saddlebacks and some Oxford Sandy and Blacks.
There is a vast selection of beers from the region’s growing number of microbreweries, including Art Brew (micro brewery in nearby North Chideock) and 2013 Taste of Dorset Best Drink Award-winning Mighty Hop Brewery.
More than food
Felicity's stock ranges a lot wider than a conventional farm shop and locals and visitors alike can browse through local books (I found a delightful story about a dinosaur by a local author which is now on its way to my little dinosaur-mad grandson in California!) and the vintage and bric-a-brac corner, find gifts including gloriously colourful Mediterranean ceramics, and take home flowers, plants and garden accessories.
“We are developing it into a country store,” says Felicity.
Looking ahead, she and her sister are also building up their own range of ready meals.
It is very hard work – they are open every day, from 8am-6pm and 10am-4pm on Sunday, but the efforts are paying off, and even on a bleakly cold, wet and windy Monday morning, Felicity and her staff were busy serving travellers and local customers with everything from hot chocolate to bags of flour.
So next time you are heading down the A35 towards Lyme Regis or coming back from a holiday in Devon, take time to stop off at Felicity’s Farm Shop and support a business which is doing so much to support local producers and makers.