My most wonderful time of the year...
It’s my favourite time of year, apart from spring, summer and autumn! Even though we have been planning it for many months, November means that Christmas has officially arrived at Darts Farm.
The outside lights have been switched on and are twinkling in the dark night sky. The Christmas decorations are up and beautiful wreaths, hand-crafted by our expert florist Anna, hang elegantly on the walls. The whole team are busy, filling every possible space with amazing artisan gifts and indulgent Christmas treats. The buzz and Christmassy warmth you get as you wander around the shop is so contagious.
I get so excited when I see the Christmas stock on the shelves. Having lost so much weight during the summer barbecue season, we are ready to put back on the winter layer – the one that keeps us warm!
World class products that are only crafted at this time of year make festive feasting even more special. The Lemoncello Panattone from Seggiano is the best! You have to get your hands on them quick though, as we only get a limited number and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
Ryders Bakery, a family business based in Dawlish, make the most incredible deep filled mince pies (perfect with a dollop of locally produced Sutton Lucy clotted cream) and a deliciously moreish Stollen cake too. Georgie Porgie Christmas Puddings are also a must. After working with them from the start, over 25 years ago, it definitely wouldn’t be Christmas without them! These are just a few though; there are so many other festive delights for you to discover. Later this month, we will also get our first delivery of freshly cut, sustainably harvested Christmas trees from the Dartmoor Christmas Tree Company. After winning Christmas Tree Grower of the Year on many different occasions, and supplying our very own 10 Downing Street with their Christmas tree last year, the family-run business based here in Devon certainly knows a thing or two.
Pulling on their waterproofs, gloves and woolly hats to keep them warm and dry from the heavy dews and morning frosts, the farm team are busy too, handpicking fresh winter vegetables from the fields each morning.
Brussels sprouts are starting to make an appearance, along with kale, flower sprouts, red, white and savoy cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco, celeriac, leeks, squash, beetroot and spuds. This time of year is all about slow cooking and our seasonal produce is perfect for this; whether it’s a traditional beef stew, hearty vegetable soup or a classic Sunday roast.
It’s also the peak season for game, and one of my favourites has to be pheasant. Our master butchers source theirs from a few different shoots around the local area; the ones that have been running for years and where all the farmer boys get together in a normal year for their seasonal social. Why not try our special recipe using the best game around?
Find out more at dartsfarm.co.uk.