Well, after what can only be described as a crazy 15 months, for us here at Darts Farm, the light at the end of the tunnel is certainly getting brighter.
Whilst things are starting to get back to normal, I think that it is important that we take some time to reflect on the past year. ‘The glass half full’ optimist in me really can’t help but notice some of the positives that have come out of the pandemic. Here at Darts, we have found people are definitely beginning to enjoy the simpler things in their lives. They are consciously taking time to slow down their fast and frantic lifestyles. They are enjoying and taking a real pleasure in what is on their doorstep; whether that be the great outdoors or locally produced, great tasting, sustainable food and drink.
I guess, we are lucky here at Darts. We are situated in a beautiful spot with breath-taking views; with the River Clyst running along the boundary of the farm. We have always championed making food ‘the slow way’ and work with some of the world’s best artisans who hand craft their products using time honoured traditions and the best, local and natural ingredients. The opposite to the processed & industrial food that, pre-covid was so convenient for many. We believe and really hope that people’s new found connection with the landscape, farming and nature, in addition to spending time with family and friends, taking time and enjoying quality food the slow way, is here to stay.
During the past year, a lot of the site has been closed, which has allowed us to spend time on things that we would never normally have time to focus on. We have been working on a few really exciting projects that really reinforce the values that our business was built on and I can’t wait any longer to share them with you…
Some of you may have noticed that we now have a brand-new Nature Trail here on the farm. Complete with insect hotels, very rare bee orchids, woodland areas, bee hives, wild flowers, hedge laying, willow sculptures, outdoor cooking and eating areas and beautiful Estuary views. It’s an area that we want people to explore; for them to be able to understand the strong connection between farming and nature. An area where people can sit, socialise and cook on open fires; it’s about taking us back to our primal years.
Also, as part of the Nature Trail we have planted a heritage orchard with the help of Barny Butterfield, founder of Sandford Orchards. With 40 of our favourite Devon varieties, it is a way for us to be able pass on traditional varieties, flavours and heritage and give something that will bring memories to new generations. We have a rich farming history here at Darts, and our job is to ensure it is enjoyed by the future generations to come.
We can’t wait until we are turn the fruits from the trees into amazing, unique small batch cider in our new Cidery. The orchard will also become a key part of our new restaurant ‘The Farm Table’, where we you can enjoy home grown and locally reared meat, cooked on charcoal fired ovens; fresh sourdough pizza’s cooked in a beautiful woodfired oven; artisan charcuterie and farmhouse cheese tasting platters; unique ciders and beers and world class wine and spirits. As well as the fresh, locally caught, grilled fish from the Fish Shed that we are already famous for!
This June, we will also be launching our new gelato and bean to bar chocolate; both of which will be crafted here on site. Using the best ingredients, including milk from our local dairy, Sutton Lucy and cacao beans sourced from small scale growers in the world’s best regions; we will be able to produce incredible tasting products whilst paying fair prices and helping to support local economies, families and heritage.
Later this month, our new Hen House will also be opening, where you can pick and purchase your very own chickens. For us, sustainably produced food is definitely at the top of the list and what’s more sustainable that producing you own eggs?
Anyway, I digress. Let’s get back to the here and now. I can’t explain how great it is to have our whole site back in action. From our home and lifestyle and the body and mind departments, to the great outdoors. The outdoor courtyard of our restaurant is also open, and our chefs are getting creative using our Farm and Food Hall as their larder bringing the best seasonal recipes to your plate. The queues are coming back for our award-winning fresh fish and chips from the Fish Shed, and our famous Ruby Red Steak Sandwich from The Shack. The bottom field has got an incredible buzz and it is so warming hearing the sounds of laughter and friendship as people have a well over due catch up over a few beers or a bottle of wine in their bubbles of six.
Come and join us and pick our Sunflowers for Charity!
Have a day of farm fun with our Maize Maze!