At the end of last year, I promised to search out some Sussex farm shops in the east of our fair county and here they are. And there can be no better starting place than Middle Farm.
Middle Farm Shop, Firle
Middle Farm Shop is on the A27 about 4 miles east of Lewes and 7 miles west of Eastbourne, between the turnings to Ripe and Selmeston. In fact, it’s part of the Firle Estate but has been run by the same tenant farmers for 50 years. And it’s a gourmet treasure trove.
When you enter the little courtyard, there is food building to your left, drinks to your right, and plants in the courtyard. In the food area, you’ll find everything from freshly made bread and bakes, local homemade preserves and pickles, homegrown vegetables, a butchers shop, deli and cheese shop, free-range eggs, milk, local cookbooks, chocolate, spices and herbs, biscuits and tea, you name it, it’s an emporium. And as you’d expect – it supports lots and lots of local producers. In fact, they stock 25 Sussex cheeses as part of their 80 different British cheeses as well as their own range of jams, marmalades, and chutneys.
When you’ve explored enough (which could take some time) head to the drinks barn. Here you’ll find a large range of Sussex beers (bottles and cans), Sussex gins, both English and Sussex wines, cider and even mead! When you’ve finished, pop into the courtyard tearoom or visit the farm with the kids.
Middle Farm is such a joy to visit, it’s becoming a destination and experience in itself and if you’re travelling east to west, or west to east along the A27, it would be a great shame not to stop and visit. It’s also on a main cycling route so you really have no excuse.
Holmansbridge Farm Shop, Barcombe
You’ll find this farm shop on Town Littleworth Road, half a mile along the A275 north of Cooksbridge railway crossing. Watch out for The Rainbow Inn on the junction and you’ll find Holmansbridge 1.8 miles up on the right-hand side. This is a family business and another great farm shop with a butcher, with locally sourced meat as well as their own beef and lamb. They also make their own sausage, burgers, and pies and have a Deli with lots of lovely cheeses, cold meats, chutneys, preserves, marinades, jams, and as you might expect, breads, cakes and pastries. And there is a grocer section with local produce as well local wines, beers, and gin!
As we slowly edge towards the warmer weather once more, the nearby River Ouse is a great spot for a picnic, swimming, canoeing, walking and cycling so why not top up your supplies at the farm shop while you’re there.
Salts Farm Shop, Rye
Salts Farm Shop is in East Guldeford, about 1 mile from Rye towards Folkestone on the A259 just opposite the Camber turn off. They sell fresh meat, half lambs (grazed on the land), fresh fruit and vegetables, jams, chutneys, cakes, ice cream, beer, wine, ciders and soft drinks as well as everyday essentials like bread and milk. They pride themselves on sourcing from local producers and suppliers where possible. They also have a coffee shop which always makes a visit worth it!