The small fishing port of Padstow, Cornwall, has become known as one of the food capitals of England, with gourmet restaurants and specialty shops offering fresh fish, seasonal produce, Cornish pasties, handmade ice cream, and clotted cream fudge. While there are plenty of culinary delights to enjoy along Padstow's harbor and cobbled streets, any serious food lover and locavore should make the effort to venture to the outskirts of town and visit Trethillick Farm and the Padstow Farm Shop.
In the center of Padstow, there is a bustling gourmet shop called Stein's Deli. (Proprietor and celebrity chef Rick Stein is the town's most prominent figure, with four restaurants, a cooking school, a patisserie, and the deli all bearing his name.) Our experience at Stein's was wholly positive, but the contrast between that shop's upscale ambiance and the Padstow Farm Shop, which sells many of the same products, is marked.
Located on a working farm about a mile outside of town and surrounded by fields and tractors, the Padstow Farm Shop exudes local flavor. Approaching the shop, we were greeted by a grizzled old farm cat, a duck, and a flock of chickens. Inside, the staff couldn't have been more welcoming, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable about their wares.
Since its opening in 2006, Padstow Farm Shop has focused on selling fresh, seasonal, and local produce; traditionally reared beef, lamb, and pig; and eggs from the chickens just out the door.
Fruits and vegetables are harvested from the Tregirls family farm and the kitchen garden at Prideaux Place, a nearby Elizabethan manor.
The shop carries fresh bread from Padstow's Chough bakery and local cheeses such as yarg, a cow's milk cheese wrapped in nettle leaves.
Artisanal products include hand crafted apple juices, ciders, elderflower presse, and sea salt from the waters of Cornwall.
The shop also stocks a well-curated range of other Cornish products such as ales, tea, preserves, fudge, chocolates, ice cream, and yogurt. From the small book section, we picked up several cookbooks penned by local authors.
Whether you're cooking dinner, planning a seaside picnic, or looking for foodie souvenirs to take home, Padstow Farm Shop is well worth the trek outside of town.
(Images: Emily Ho)