Community ethos behind Derbyshire farm shop
As my challenge to discover more about Derbyshire food producers, suppliers and eateries continues, this month I’m sharing with you, the fabulous and quirky Stretton Hall Farm Shop.
Set amongst breathtaking Derbyshire countryside - yet only moments from Clay Cross town in Chesterfield, you could be fooled into thinking you’re visiting a lodge in New England, America (without the Atlantic Ocean, obviously).
The timber walls are painted in a rich, deep slate blue with the windows and doors, crisp and white.
The entrance has two tall bay trees welcoming you in, whilst outside, are stylish, comfortable chairs and tables to sit and enjoy, not only your teas, coffees and cakes, but also the stunning views all around you.
Stretton Hall Farm Shop is a brilliant find, and a wonderful example of community spirit. Julie and Mark Meredith are the owners of Stretton Hall Farm, a poultry farm in Hollins Green, Chesterfield.
They started selling their eggs, at the side of Newmarket Lane, eleven years ago; with a simple honesty box sat next to the eggs for payment. Popular with the locals, the demand for more items grew, and soon they were providing milk and bread too.
Fast forward to 2020 and the start of the pandemic. A frightening time for many, and with some people not wanting to shop in the supermarkets or unable to get home delivery slots, Stretton Hall Farm provided a lifeline for people to pick up their food essentials safely.
Julie explains, “Being able to get essentials like bread, eggs and milk from us, rather than queuing at the supermarkets, was a godsend to our locals.
They felt safe coming here, and of course if they walked, it was nice exercise too. With the demand growing, we started sourcing more produce and then realised that we needed an actual shop rather just an honesty box!”
Julie and Mark started to work with other farmers and local suppliers. Their ethos has, and always will be, to source locally wherever possible.
With the popularity of the farm produce increasing, they decided to build a farm shop and cafe. Everyone would be welcome, dogs too!
The whole family got on board. Everyone worked both on the farm, as well as putting in shifts at the shop.
Perfectly located with views across the sprawling North Derbyshire hills, and with horse trails as well as popular walking routes nearby, the Farm shop has become the perfect stop-off point.
Walkers, riders and cyclists are rewarded with a fine selection of teas, coffees, cakes, pastries, sausage rolls and pasties to indulge in.
For shoppers, they will find not only eggs, bread and milk but meats, vegetables alongside a vast array of artisan chutney’s, jams and pickles.
The meat produce is supplied by Chesterfield’s Meadow Fresh butchers; and even the coffee is sourced from Arden Coffee, located just down the road in Clay Cross.
One of the first products (after the eggs and milk) that they supplied was jam from the Miner’s Arms in Milltown and, according to Julie, it’s still a big seller a year on.
Earlier this year they were granted an alcohol license, enabling customers to enjoy a selection of alcoholic beverages too, both onsite and off. Local gins and bottled ales feature alongside a good selection of wines.
As if this wasn’t enough, anyone looking to buy gifts can now find boutique gifts for the home as well as quality cards too.
This farm shop is a bit like Dr Who’s Tardis! In just a year, it’s grown from a roadside pop up to a hugely popular and essential shop!
But they’re not stopping! Not only have they just completed an extension to the side of the shop, but have also turned two of the fields behind the shop into both a pumpkin field and a sunflower field.
I’m reliably informed that there will be a great pumpkin harvest this year, just in time for Halloween.
AND…they’ve also set up a small glampsite and converted the farmhouse annexe in order to be let out.
Finally, watch out for Stretton Hall Farm’s farmhouse annexe on BBC’s Escape to the Country. The production team of this popular show recently contacted Julie and Mark to feature their property which really does highlight all that is good about Derbyshire.
Head over there, I can guarantee you won’t leave empty handed!