One of my favourite past times is visiting farm shops. The abundance of local produce carefully and lovingly crafted, harvested or reared portrays a sense of passion for good food and knowing exactly where it comes from. The award winning Chatsworth farm shop located in the heart of Pilsley, Bakewell is proud to produce and prepare nearly half of its products on the Chatsworth estate. With a wide variety to choose from including a butcher’s counter filled with Chatsworth meat, poultry and game, a fresh fish counter, fresh fruit and vegetables, a wonderful array of delicatessen goods including home-cooked meats and pies, delicious patisserie and a range of locally brewed beers, wines and soft drinks; there is something to tantalise your taste buds. Weather you are cooking a delicious dinner for your guests or looking for ingredients for a long and lazy weekend supper, the Chatsworth farm shop has something to offer.
Established by the Duchess of Devonshire in 1977, the shop sold beef and lamb reared from the estate’s farms. The original aim was to sell Chatsworth’s products direct to those who want to eat quality, locally grown food and since then, the farm shop has grown becoming more diverse.
The staff working in the farm shop are not just a team of experts including butchers, bakers and talented chefs but also they are a family. The staff are so friendly and approachable, providing assistance and answering any questions you may have. Glass windows throughout the shop showcases the bakers and butchers working and reaffirms that Chatsworth farm shop are passionate about the food they produce whilst keeping their ethos at the heart of what they do.
Chatsworth have a wealth of talented producers nearby and prefer to source from small local suppliers wherever possible however, over half of the shop’s products are produced or prepared on the estate. Their policy of ‘good food starts with good suppliers’ could not be more evident. The skills and knowledge from their trusted suppliers shines through with great care and attention into the food they produce. Chatsworth know the suppliers personally and some have been supplying for as long as 30 years.
Beautiful blooms from the estate adorn the little market stalls dotted outside the farm shop. Brighten your outdoor space and welcome guests to your home with cheery spring flowers and bulbs with pretty pinks, fresh greens and pops of sunny yellow. Choose from potted plants or a beautiful bouquet, the flowers really add a pop of colour to the farm shop entrance.
An abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables can be found in the market stalls outside the farm shop. Unlike supermarkets, the fresh and locally sourced produce, with some suppliers coming from South Derbyshire growers changes with the seasons. Large crates are filled with a variety of fruit and vegetables and handy wicker baskets are nearby to carry your shopping.
What a feast for the eyes! The main centrepiece showcases a large table laden with decadent Easter eggs, sugar coated chocolate eggs, iced biscuits and all manner of sweet treats to tempt the taste buds. Eggs symbolise fertility, health and life and are therefore perfect as an Easter gift. A whole host of flavourings can be found from citrus zests, nuts and spices adorned with precise decoration. Located in the entrance, there is a buzz in the air as shoppers indulge in the Easter gifts on display, many opting for the handmade Simnel cakes decorated with golden marzipan.
Nutritious and delicious, the humble egg deserves a culinary celebration, perfect for springtime. Help yourself to fresh eggs straight from the Chatsworth estate; simply pick up a carton and select your eggs and pay at the till. A large bowl houses the nestled eggs from the classic brown shells to pure white and a soft pastel aqua hue shell.
The first new potatoes and asparagus arrive in time for Easter (depending how it falls in the calendar) and are a sign that lighter days are coming and a turning point transitioning from winter to spring. Chatsworth encourage you to pick your own vegetables housed in large wooden crates. Indoors features a variety of salad items, fresh on-the-vine tomatoes, fresh herbs, a variety of mushrooms, spring onions and much more. Succulent strawberries are displayed in cartons as well as other soft fruits, ready for the perfect picnic with a glass of bubbly.
Every pantry essential can be found from Chatsworth jams and marmalades to cereal, nuts and seeds. The honey is produced on the estate from the bee hives in the gardens, with a whole host of wonderful flavours to choose from including flower honey and borage honey.
The Chatsworth farm shop is underpinned by its value and philosophy that the farm shop’s products are produced or prepared on the estate. Animal welfare is high on their agenda. Chatsworth breed and rear contented and healthy livestock and understand that good husbandry towards the animals means they will taste better too.
The butcher’s counter offers home-produced meats including beef, lamb, venison and pheasant from the estate. With a variety to choose from, including ready-prepared meats, great care is taken into sourcing produce locally where possible and the traditional butchers have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Stuck for inspiration? The butchers offer recommendations and cooking advice to customers – just ask at the counter! Graham and Jake (the butchers) served me, helping me select a delicious chicken with cranberry wrapped in bacon and some delicious tomato and basil sausages and an apple flavour too.
The fish counter provides the highest quality fresh fish sourced from British waters, using British boats and skippers. There is a choice of fresh fish and ready-prepared fish with a whole variety of dressings to choose from.
A staggering 104 different cheeses can be found at the cheese counter from classics such as the traditional British Stilton, to a range of fine French cheeses and other continental cheeses. Sample plates are offered to encourage costumers to try before they buy. For anyone who loves cheese, I would highly recommend paying a visit especially if you are planning a dinner party and looking to offer your guests a cheese board.
The delicatessen counter houses an array of homemade pies, cooked meats and pates galore, including a vegetarian selection too. Choose from a range of freshly filled baguettes, an olive bar and a new range of pre-packed salads. My favourite is the salmon and dill tart and the roasted vegetable tart with sesame seeds. Ellie helped me select some pork loin with herbs, an ultimate chocolate brownie with sea salt and cacao nibs and a pork pie.
An irresistible display of bakes and puddings from baked white chocolate and cranberry cheesecakes to fresh cream filled cherry and sultana scones. Perfect for the season is the lemon tart: light and creamy to taste, with a fresh and acidic tang echoing that of a forest in early spring and of course, the yellow is a classic Easter colour. Chatsworth bake most of their delicious puddings and cakes in-house with glass windows in the farm shop showing bakers preparing, cooking and adding the finishing touches.
The Chatsworth range of wines as well as the Gardener’s Tap beer and Andre’s Ale are brewed by Peak Ales on the estate. Locally brewed drinks stand proud along the shelves along with non-alcoholic choices and even a gluten-free range. Freya helped me pick some elderflower and rose presse before heading to the tills.
The Chatsworth farm shop café is located on the other side, a short walk leading to breathtaking views of the idyllic countryside with its patchwork like fields, ewes grazing happily and the distant chime of the church bell. The café provides indoor and outdoor seating areas. Offering delicious, seasonal dishes, the farm shop café is the perfect place to unwind. Sampling their hot chocolate and a slice of mouthwatering carrot cake, its easy to see why the café is so busy. View the farm shop café menu here.
I would highly recommend a visit to the Chatsworth farm shop if you are looking for something special, be it a gift for a loved one, an extra luxurious hamper or some ingredients for a late night supper.
Would this be somewhere you’d visit? Is it on your bucket list?