Continues from Everyday Organic in England.
Chatsworth farm shop
Each region of the United Kingdom also has its own guardian of the land. In Chatsworth, Derbyshire, it is the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
The farm shop was established in 1977, and has been aimed to source primarily from the estate (There are more than 2000 sheep, 200 beeves and cows in the estate, and 400 hectare Elm Tree Farm grows wheat, barley, potatoes, oil seed rape, linseed and peas), secondly from more than 100 estate's tenant farmers, thirdly from Derbyshire producers.
The quality of food there is as treasurable as Chatsworth house. You can buy any ingredients to cook your best dish. Some farm shops tend to stock frozen food to maintain the variety, but here, everything is fresh.
Especially, their butcher and selection of pies are incredible.
The new lamb season has just began, and free-range chicken turned into beautiful pies. It is almost irresistible to pick one of them.
Above, honey chicken parmesan and grape pie (£1.95), lamb with damson mint chutney (£1.75). Below, chicken stilton supreme (£4.51) and barn reared chicken cushio with parsley(£4.87).
To understand what is behind this great farm shop, The Duchess of Devonshire's Chatsworth Cookery Book, is interesting to read. Here is some quote from the foreword.
Although she is the first to admin that she herself hasn't cooked for well over half century, Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, is deeply interested in good food. Chatsworth is renowned not only for its palatial splendour and its priceless treasures, but also for its brilliant catering, its superb farm shop, and the delectable products of its private kitchen.
In this book, the Duchess has collected the recipes for dishes that she loves. They range from simple soups and suppers to sumptuous dinners. Also included are recipes fro the jams and marmalade that sell so successfully under the Duchess of Devonshire's own label.
But, as you would expect from the Duchess, this is much more than just a cookery book. Blending hilarious anecdotes with perceptive historical detail, she writes about life in the kitchens at Chatsworth and about her child hood as one of the inimitable Mitford sisters. Throughout the book pithy observation, witty polemic and nostalgic reminiscence are interwoven in the engaging style that has won her such a devoted following.
Preserving heritage land is not only a privilege for nobles. Daylesford Organic in Gloucestershire that is a farm shop I visited on the way to Chatsworth, is established by Mrs Bamford whose husband is one of Britain's most successful industrialists (his JCB fortune is estimated at £950 million).
Daylesford farm shop suddenly appears in the middle of rural landscape. It is actually in 1,730 acres of farmland. But once I stepped into the property, I had to redefine the term 'farm shop' in my dictionary. It was more like a sophisticated country life style which has been admired in the British culture.
I suppose that these highly sophisticated farm shops are more for special occasion rather than everyone's daily shopping. But their ethic is clear, stay seasonal, fresh, local, and in many cases organic. And it became a role model for aspiring farmers, and nowadays you can find growing (especially in the last ten years) number of quality farm shops everywhere in the heart of British countryside.