Darts Farm

Topsham, Devon
Tel: 01392 878 200
Email: info@dartsfarm.co.uk

The Sustainable Flavours of Spring

The Sustainable Flavours of Spring

Posted in The Farm, Supporting Local on 12 Mar 2022

The first of the local asparagus. Sweet and succulent spring lamb. The iconic, pasture rich tastes of Spring cheeses. Beautiful John Dori, fresh red mullet and delicate sea bass. These are just a few of the new, fresh flavours that really signify Spring for us here at Darts … and if you’re a foodie like me, there is so much to be excited about!

Iconic Farmhouse Cheese...

There is an old saying that goes ‘the key to outstanding cheese is the quality of the main ingredient, milk’ and so much can affect this; from the breed of animal and the stage in the lactation, to the pasture they are grazing. And when you combined this with the inventiveness of the maker, you get the unique tastes and textures that a cheese has during one season, which may never be replicated again.

One to try at the moment is the iconic St James; a smooth paste texture with a creamy, rich sweetness and salty, savoury flavour. Crafted my Martin Gott and his partner Nicola the incredible washed-rind sheep’s cheese, is made from the raw milk of the farm's flock of Lacaune ewes. They are one of only a handful of cheesemakers in the country who makes their own starter culture; and what it produces really is something special. 

Fresh Day Boat Fish

After many years of being a fisherman himself, our incredible Fish-Monger Dave now works directly with a handful of small, family-run, trusted inshore day boats who selectively line-catch only what they need. This is the most sustainable way of enjoying the best of what nature has to offer, as well as supporting the lifeblood of our coastal towns and villages. As we enter spring, the new season fish are starting to appear. Beautiful John Dory, fresh red mullet and delicate Sea Bass... You can’t beat it!

Local, Handpicked Asparagus

By the end of this month, we should have the first of our delicious asparagus; grown just down the road by our friend and local farmer, Chris; who has been working for the Dart family for over 40 years.

Each morning, he heads out, handpicks the ready asparagus stems and delivers them to us just before opening. There is no need for any refrigeration or packaging. The traditional ways always seem to be the most sustainable ways. Picking them fresh like this also means that each one is beautifully crisp with the perfect snap; this only lasts for 24 hours, so it’s very rare to be able to get asparagus this delicious anywhere else.

Sustainable Spring Lamb

For centuries, sheep farming has shaped the beautiful Devon landscapes we love. The perfect animal for grazing areas we are unable to utilise for other forms of food production and much like our cattle, they are also great for carbon locking and increasing biodiversity. They graze on the pastures, encouraging a new growth of grass, which helps to reduce and lockup carbon. They then dung on the fields, which not only adds a new set of diverse microbial residents to the soil, keeping it fresh and fertile but it also creates the perfect feed for many insects and in turn local wildlife and birds. It’s all about farming sustainable and in harmony with nature!

For generations we have worked with a vibrant community of the best Devon farmers; one being Ben Mortimore, who farms his flock of Poll Dorset’s just across the River Exe at Powderham. A unique, early-lambing breed that are beautifully suited to the mild and sheltered micro-climate of the Exe Estuary and gives us some of the earliest succulent and tender Spring Lamb in the country. It really is unbeatable for a Sunday roast at this time of year!

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