Goin’ to the farm shop

Last week was … well, it was. The weather was crap and the dog kept waking in the night wanting to patrol his garden (apparently the demons were out). Result was that I slept badly, was cold a lot of the time, and ate stodge to get warm (so gained weight). Come Friday night I just needed comfort. So, I set us up in the living room, in front of the wood stove. First good night’s sleep in ages.

Woke to slightly milder temps and a clear sky. So, what to do with that? Of course, the two of us strolled but then I decided a trip to the farm shop was necessary – simply to get me out of the house.

(the farm shop frontage)

But, the car is misbehaving (it goes to the garage early Tuesday morning). So, of course, I walked. It’s just far enough to be an outing and there are two ways to get there: along the main road and then turn into a lane and then on to a path; and the coastal path. I took number 1 to get there, number 2 to get back.

(getting there: left side is turnoff from main road, right path down to shop)

(getting back: coastal path)

Anyway, I was a bit traumatised by doing the Sana Jardin perfumes last week so this week any smells have to do with the outing, the farm shop, and getting home to the warm afterwards.

It was a very nice outing. I’d been visiting this part of England for years before I moved down here from London. Back in the visiting time the farm shop was a glorified shed with shelves holding produce. You nabbed an empty box and filled it. That was that. Now (a decade on), it’s a ‘destination’ – to the extent I’ve seen Mary Berry of the original Bake Off there twice (she’s tiny). It’s a fancy farm shop; it has a chocolate counter (gelato and chocs); you can get your hair done and do a Pilates class; in the summer you can walk the maize maze and pick sunflowers; you can get fish and chips, there’s a restaurant; soon, they will open a wine bar with a wood oven for bbq and pizza, etc etc. Currently all I go to is the farm shop. And it’s a good walk from my house.

As to smells, you can see from pic below they stock fancy unguents (no other word for that section), featuring ridiculously overpriced l’Occitane stuff. I really like their Verbena line which is lemony without being sweet but I would never buy the stuff. It’s just silly money. They also stock this wonderful hand sanitiser with mint and rosemary which actually works but smells really good. The soaps are nice and stinky the way ‘artisanal’ soaps can be. In the winter I buy bunches of eucalyptus which keep the kitchen smelling fresh till spring. A few times I’ve bought cheap pots of narcissus at Xmas.

Between grocery deliveries I buy veg here (not as beautifully presented as at Harrods but really good quality). In the summer, their berries are grown on the farm itself and far better than a lot of other stuff available round here (and this is still farm country so berries are good). Every once in a while I buy baked goods including gorgeous cheesecakes, something called Daim cake (if you know the candy you’ll get why this might be luscious) and the most decadent almond flour brownies.

This visit was mainly to do the walk to shake things up a bit after being indoors for too long. But I came home with cheese scones (great with butter), some peppers, early purple sprouting broccoli, a small pot of fancy plain yoghurt, and a small pot of really great strawberry and rose jam (yes, you can taste the rose).

There wasn’t a lot to smell on the walks there and back. The daffodils are just starting to bloom now and there’s not really fragrant stuff yet (eg, viburnum). Just the oceany smell of the estuary, the cows, and pockets of wood smoke. I feel a lot better though for having done the outing.

What about you? What do you do to shake things up in deep winter when it’s simply too much to stay indoors?

  • rosarita says:

    Your walk sounds wonderful. I miss walking. This winter has been more house bound than even the quarantine and when I get buggy, my husband puts me in the truck and we drive up to the Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s been so cold here that the edges of the lake are piled high with ice formations, cool to look at and take pictures of. No open markets this time of year.

    • cinnamon says:

      It doesn’t get as cold here (so far) as other places. We’ve got a temperate microclimate. Fingers crossed your spring will show up responsibly soon.

  • Musette says:

    I am SO jealous! (not envious, as Envy is a Sin 😉 ) – it’ll be quite awhile before there’s any ‘farm’ anything – we’re still under 6″ of snow and mornings stand at around 4F.
    Your outing sounds lovely, though. I mostly take a trip to some form of civilization and walk around some enclosed space for awhile – Lowe’s (home improvement) has a nice little greenhouse area. I sit at one of their patio tables and just soak up some sun, then take some bulbs home .

    Glad you were able to get that walk in! Did Joe get the demons? xoxoxo

    • cinnamon says:

      I hope for snow at Xmas each year. Hasn’t happened yet. Totally get walking around a place like Lowe’s. Who knows what one will find. The demons are too quick for Joe. By the time he makes it into the garden whoever was there is either long gone or hiding in a bush or tree giggling about the Labradog yet again being too slow.

  • ElizaC says:

    Strawberry and rose jam…yum. I love floral infused foods (and booze – we just got a vermouth with cherry blossom and violet flavors). Our West Seattle walks are more urban but give us a much needed refresh during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, I loved roaming around our downtown Pike Place Market – the food, the people and the energy was always wonderful.

    • cinnamon says:

      I was quite surprised that it had a really rosy flavour. Lovely. We don’t have that sort of regular market here. I’m really hoping we can have the annual food fair in the spring which has been cancelled past two years. So get what you mean about the energy.

  • March says:

    What a treat! I know I’d love Daim cake … it’s all walks all the time over here, many of them aimless. I just strap the dog in her coat and harness and go. I don’t always love it in the moment, but I almost always feel better after.

    • cinnamon says:

      I won’t buy the Daim cake for myself (will do it for my son). Rather, I’m into the salted caramel cheesecake, the creme patisserie tarts, and the roulades. Though I do most of my baked bad behaviour at the nearby bakery. Yes, that: feeling better for venturing into the cold and damp, getting the blood flowing, etc.

      • Musette says:

        I always go out in inclement weather (assuming it won’t actually kill me) – it has a way of resetting the notion of home, making it a place of refuge rather than a prison.


  • Dina C. says:

    The local Farm Shop sounds delightful, Cinnamon. Glad the weather cooperated so you could talk a nice long walk. We’re fortunate to have a paved path in the woods behind our houses, near a stream, that goes for a ways when I feel like taking a walk. I’m not so much a “shake things up” person, but a “let’s keep things calm” person though. 🙂 I’m enjoying watching the Olympics — that’s enough excitement for me.

    • cinnamon says:

      Actually, I guess shake things up in this instance does relate to calm but as in getting calmer by getting out of the house. I don’t own a tv right now (got rid of old one when clearing out house for work to be done) — anything I watch has to be available on the computer. I think I most enjoyed watching the Olympics when that really tall American won a lot of swimming medals.

  • Portia says:

    Hey there Cinnamon,
    In Australia we have a large chain version of your farm shop. It’s called Harris Farm and we love to browse through them. Not for the bargain hunter but their produce is fresh and the deli stocks a really broad range of meat and cheese. They also do some beauty stuff and the larger ones have very ra sha sha cafes. Sadly none of them are walking distance but Jin sometimes drops into one on his way home from work and brings me treats.

    Getting out of the house for anything still feels like adventure.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      No, this isn’t for bargain hunting either. Strangely, as a result of the pandemic and having to put some things that used to be out behind glass their deli offering isn’t as good as it used to be. Ah, adventure … yes, well …

  • Kathleen says:

    Your Farm Shop sounds lovely, as well as your walk to get there. I wish I had a Farm Shop and all the wonderful things therein. There is nothing like that walking distance from me; however, I get out walking daily even in winter weather, with really no destination other than where my dog’s nose takes us. I love to let him take him the lead and watch what intrigues him.

    • cinnamon says:

      When we walk in the neighbouring villages the dog takes the lead. But, I have to drive us to both of them. Sometimes visiting the farm shop can be quite zen in that I can wander around it just looking without having any particular need to shop (though I almost always come out with something food-related).

  • Tom says:

    I miss the old farm stand in my hometown, even though it isn’t anything resembling the old farm stand. When I visited several years ago it was much slicker and closer to a twee market. Not quite selling double decaf half caf lattes with free-range almond milk, but getting there. But hey, at least they’re there.

    I watch that show Escape to the Country (is that it?) and just kvell over those quint houses Of course I am a wuss, so I don’t think I’d kvell so much over the lack of central AC and a convenient Neiman Marcus.

    • cinnamon says:

      Don’t do non-dairy milks. Does my head in. Have never seen the show. Here there’s something called Grand Designs which follows people building both beautiful and loony very expensive houses. It’s addicting. I am no where near an NM-type store. And AC … what’s that?

  • Alityke says:

    Our farm shop is now a thriving tourist attraction with its own TV show, the “On the Farm” TV franchise. It doesn’t sell lotions, potions & L’Occitane though.
    I sometimes miss knocking on the farmhouse door to ask to go on the waiting list for a half pig or half lamb.
    Like you it’s my go to destination with the dog. Sadly no coast road & too far to walk to without it being a full day out but a short drive is rewarded with a lovely parkland walk, including the criss cross bridges over the cascades created for the Spencer-Stanhopes. A dog friendly restaurant & bar is a must for coffee post walk. Good coffee & lotus biscuits smell do good when you get in from a cold walk

    • cinnamon says:

      Sigh. A TV programme… Not this shop though Boris did get filmed here a while ago eating cream tea. Can’t take the dog here any more. Once the pandemic-related rush to move down here started in earnest it was no longer ‘safe’ to bring him along, like I used to, and leave him to wait in an enclosed outside area. A bit sad because we had nice breakfasts out there.