We are very lucky to have a number of good farm shops, farmer’s markets and independent food shops in and around West Kent and East Sussex. Of these, Fuller’s farm shop is definitely worth a visit.
A farm shop on the Eridge Estate first appeared a couple of years ago and proved to be ambitious but very popular due to it’s locally produced offer all under one roof. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so after a period of fallow was taken over by Fuller’s the butchers who have an incredibly popular existing shop in Hawkenbury, Tunbridge Wells.
Under Fuller’s the offer is again excellent, the family are incredibly friendly as are everyone who works there. The family are obviously very knowledgeable on butchery and happily give suggestions on how to cook any of the meats and which cut works best for different recipes. Meats can be prepared for you either in advance or while you wait. Plus helpfully they have a number of prepared meats that just involve cooking. Sausages are made on site and meat is sourced from local farms to ensure provenance as well as keeping the transport miles down.
The cheese counter is wonderful, a great selection of hand-crafted cheese, help on hand from ‘the cheese man’ Qui, who can help you decide from a fabulous array. He can also source a cheese wedding cake if you looking for a slightly different idea for the end of your wedding meal.
The great draw of an out of town butcher (apart from the pluses already mentioned) is that you can park easily and the offer is so much more than just meat and cheese. You can choose cakes made locally in Crowborough by Cilla and pick up a selection of breads and baguettes delivered daily. Dunk your bread in the wide range of olive oils that can be decanted into interesting shaped bottles making great presents. There are vinegars and sauces, frozen meals and puddings and ice creams made locally and of course a good choice of fruits, seasonal vegetables as well as a selection of dairy, deli products, pastas and sauces. Looking for a culinary present? There’s lots of choice from biscuits to accompany your choice of cheese to pastas, wine and local beers.
Currently Fullers have an Easter ‘table’ with chocolate delicacies, Prestat Easter eggs and suggestions for wines to drink over the Easter weekend.
Another huge plus is the abundant parking and a location that is out of town but on the way to lots of places. Surrounded by silver birches that look fabulous against a blue sky, it’s a real gem just outside Tunbridge Wells, situated just off the A26 on Bunny Lane near Eridge.
Fuller’s farm shop is really worth supporting and judging by the number of cars in there every time I go past or pop in myself, Fuller’s is making a great success of their additional venture. Follow them on Twitter for what’s fresh at the farmshop @Fullers_Butcher
As an aside, Eridge Park itself is a great venue for the camper who doesn’t feel the need to be hooked up to all the amenities. See forgewoodcamping.co.uk
The Estate is situated right on the border between Kent and East Sussex, comprising 3,000 acres of beautiful private parkland and has a growing number of events taking place there each year. Do have a look at their website eridgepark.co.uk.
There are some good walks around here too, both in Eridge Park itself and nearby Broadwater Warren, a nature reserve in progress, managed by the RSPB. They are currently replacing some coniferous plantations with mixed woodland to encourage certain wildlife back to the Warren.
I’ve linked another great walk below that takes in three local rock outcrops as well as Groombridge.
Pop into the farm shop on the way home!