Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Hampshire Life Food & Drink Awards at the marvellous Elvetham Hotel, where we had the pleasure of witnessing our local farm shop, Beechcroft, win ‘Best Farm Shop’ for the second year running.
A blog on Beechcroft is well overdue because Adam and I go there three or four times a month to buy meat, and it would be fair to say that we are as loyal as they come. In fact, Adam loves it so much that it’s becoming a bit of a running joke amongst his friends, but that’s probably story for another time…
So what makes Beechcroft so special, and how on earth did a tiny farm outhouse down a single track road outside of Winchester pip the likes of Newlyn’s Farm Shop to the title two years in a row? Well, aside from the outstanding quality of their meat, I think it’s almost a case of what Beechcroft doesn’t have that makes it so unique.
Unlike the larger, ‘one-stop’ style farm shops, which sell everything from chutneys and cheeses, to avocados and Himalayan rock salt, Beechcroft only really sells its own meat, supplemented by a handful of useful vegetables and a few juices and sauces. As such, the focus on quality and value is paramount.
All the meat they sell is reared by them, on the farm that you see through the window of the shop, and one glance around the beautiful fields is enough to show you that they are extremely committed to high quality and genuinely care about the animals they raise. It is the perfect example of quality of goods over quantity of choice.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do also like the larger, more polished farm shops, with their abundant jars and deli counters. I love that places like The Good Life and Newlyns sell three types of frozen pastry and dried jalapeno chillis, and I adore wandering through their aisles, marvelling at the myriad styles of sourdough, but a place like Beechcroft is a farm shop in its purest sense: it’s a shop on a farm that sells its own produce. I may well be over-romanticising things (in fact, I know I am) but when I pull up outside the barn to be greeted by the clucking of chickens and a view to die for (you can see the Isle of Wight on a clear day), it just makes me very grateful. And, love them as I do, that’s not a feeling I get from most other farm shops, no mater how many flavours of gourmet popping corn they sell.
At a glance
- Top-quality pork, chicken, lamb and beef, reared on their farm, right outside the shop
- Fridays: 10am – 5.30pm
- Saturdays: 9am – 5pm
- Winchester Farmers’ Market (second and last Sunday of each month, 9am-2pm)
- Sarum Road, SO22 5QS
- 01962 868214 / 07710 168388 / firstname.lastname@example.org