In this month's blog, Michael Dart gives an insight into Darts Farms' new venture.
Last March (2020), we started what we thought was our 3-month lockdown project, to create a tastings bar and cidery! In true Darts Farm style, 18 months later, this small project has some-what evolved and developed into something a lot bigger; and something that we are even more excited about!
The first phase will be our bean to bar chocolate and artisan gelato production area along with the new outdoor seating terrace and bar. This will then be followed by ‘The Farm Table’; where we will be cooking our amazing local, artisan produce, on wood and charcoal fired ovens.
And… I am thrilled to finally announce that we have officially finished (or just about) the first phase of our lockdown project. We have transformed our old Deli Bar seating area into a gelato and chocolate area, where our expert chocolatier, Louise, will be handcrafting our incredible artisan treats. She will be using the best ingredients, including milk from local our dairy, Sutton Lucy; and cacao beans sourced from small scale growers in the world’s best regions. For us, like everything we do, it’s all about creating the best tasting, sustainable products, whilst paying fair prices; helping to support local economies, families and heritage.
When you enter, not only will you be hit by the most incredible smells, you’ll be able to see the team, busy at work; roasting, winnowing and conching cacao beans, aging blocks of single origin chocolate, hand moulding delicate truffles and tempering chocolate to create the perfect shine and snap. You’ll also be able to see our milk getting churned into beautiful, dense and creamy gelato, ready for unique seasonal ingredients to be added; handpicked strawberries and rhubarb from the fields, honey from our bees, Exe Coffee, our chocolate obviously… the list goes on but you have to try them all.
There is plenty of room for you to sit and enjoy a treat whilst spending some quality time with family and friends too. Whether you choose to go all out with a gelato Sunday, keep it classy with a glass of fizz and a few artisan truffles or go traditional with a classic cream tea, there is something for everyone; as long as they have a sweet tooth!
You’ll also be able to enjoy a bite to eat from The Shack, Fish Shed or Woodfired Pizza Oven with a crisp Devon Red cider, freshly shaken cocktail or a refreshing Luscombe drink, on our new outdoor terrace; whilst watching the sun go down over the Exe Estuary – this is where you’ll find me every Friday!
As for the second phase of the ‘3-month lockdown’ project - The Farm Table Restaurant and Cidery. We are planning for this to be open early September and we can’t wait.
For us ‘The Farm Table’ is about going back to our roots; it’s about the best, simple, seasonal ingredients, cooked over fire using wood and charcoal. Fresh, sustainable fish from Dave Kerley at The Fish Shed; home grown and locally produced meat from our Master Butchers and beautiful hand-picked veg fresh from our fields. You’ll also be able to get fresh sourdough pizza’s cooked in a beautiful woodfired oven, along with artisan charcuterie and farmhouse cheese tasting platters.
In the Cidery, Barny (founder of Sandford Orchards) and his team will be crafting unique small batch, experimental and collaborative ciders; celebrating and really championing our traditional Devonshire apple varieties that can be seen in our new heritage orchard. When visiting the cidery, you’ll be able to see the cider making process, and discover just how good real cider is.
We are thrilled to announce that our expert florist, Anna Slade, was awarded a Silver medal at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Come and join us and pick our Sunflowers for Charity!