Lovely Local Food - Going East

We have been struck since we moved to North Devon by the array of good quality local food shops that surround us. So we thought it might be nice to give you a whistle stop tour of some of our favourites in case it inspires you to make a visit and try them out. There are so many wonderful local places to shop, I am going to split the post into two parts....'Going East' covers Barnstaple and Braunton and 'Going West' will cover Ilfracombe and the surrounding area.

South Molton is a lovely little market town about 30 minutes drive from us (or you will pass it on the A361 from the M5). It is well worth a visit as it has some lovely little shops including antiques, interiors and clothes boutiques.
Griffin's Yard

Some of my favourite food shops are the old-fashioned sweet/ chocolate shops; the delicatessen specialising in cheese; Griffin's Yard (photographed above) which is a health food cafe and shop selling lots of great local produce; and last but not least, the Thursday morning market, selling all sorts including local meats such as Exmoor venison.

Now to Barnstaple, our closest market town. Butchers Row is one of Barnstaple's treasures. This historic row of little shops can pretty much sort all your culinary needs in one sweep, with everything from local game to Devon wines; locally caught crab to Devon grown chillies.

Then our much loved bakery 'East and West'. Everything they do is delicious, our current favourites are their low GI bread and a loaf called 'Pantique'. They are both delicious wholemeal loaves with lots of seeds and yumminess. Graham and Claire, who run East and West, are delightful and they supply all of our scones for the cream teas we host for our guests in the school summer holidays. They have recently won the prize of 'Best West Country Baker'. Well done guys, it is well deserved!

If you are a cheese lover, like me, you will think you have died and gone to heaven when you enter this shop. Wall to wall deliciousness! Debbie Priestley the owner has a passion for West Country cheeses, why not go in and try some!

They have a deli, as well as cheese, and a fabulous website where you can pre-order or have a local cheese selection sent to you.

'Passmores' is a great fish shop with a wide range of locally caught fish most of which is landed from small boats at Ilfracombe and Bideford. In season they sell Lundy crab and lobster as well as mackerel, turbot, brill, gurnard, sea bass, mullet, cod and haddock. They have a 'wet fish van' that visits the village car park at Croyde on Thursdays at 11am (ish). They also do home delivery in our area on Thursdays, ring 01271 343677 to make an order.

Opposite Butchers row in Barnstaple is the 'Pannier Market', a magnificent indoor hall dating back to 1827. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays there is a mixture of stalls including fruit and vegetables;  Wednesdays has largely antiques; and Fridays has most of the local food suppliers.  Keep a look out for the 'Food Festivals' they hold which are a wonderful showcase of local produce. Their website lists up and coming events.

So a little closer to home is Braunton. Above are the boys from Reed's Butchers who as well as meat do the most yummy homemade pies.

'Cawthorne's' is a small family run private supermarket who sell a great range of products including local food, organic and health foods. I am always surprised at how much I can source for an obscure recipe from here. 

'Devon Made' specialises in local nibbles. There is a super range of local preserves, oils, chocolate, bread (from East and West Bakery) and much more. Why not pop in and have a coffee and cake whilst you take a look around.

Just outside the main village of Braunton is 'The Great Field' a source of much of our very local veg. It is treasured as one of the only two surviving medieval open strip field systems in England and is believed to date way back to the 1200's.

Local Farm Box is an online shop and box scheme that sources from 'The Great Field'. We have weekly deliveries as families and also stock up on dairy products, meat, preserves, bakery items and eggs from them from time to time. A veg box delivery is ideal if you are coming to Devon on holiday. Pre-order and it will be here for your arrival.

Last but not least is our 'Georgeham Stores'. Tracey and Paul, the owners, are really helpful and friendly. They have a good selection of provisions including local bread, meat, cheese and milk. If you are coming on holiday and would like to pre-order a shop to be delivered as you arrive, then please ring 01271890534 (they can email you a list of produce on request).

So why is it helpful to shop locally? I love this list produced by the 'Crystal Palace Transition Group' outlining 10 great reasons........enough said!!:

1.       More money stays in the community: When you spend £100 at an independent business, £68 returns to the local community, compared with £43 if you buy from a national chain

2.       More jobs are created for local people, including architects, designers, sign-makers, accountants etc.

3.       Local businesses offer a greater diversity of products and there is more scope for innovation

4.       Local businesses are more likely to get involved in community action and to offer financial support for community initiatives

5.       Local shops help maintain the area’s distinctive character and flavour

6.       Local businesses are more likely to source from the local area (including edible gardens)

7.       The more people that are employed locally, the fewer need to commute, saving on energy consumption

8.       Fewer people will use their cars

9.       Local traders are more likely to chat to their customers to find out what their interests are and to respond to their needs and their values

10.   We can build up a relationship with local businesses that will help support them in a transition towards sourcing more locally, sustainably and fairly

Happy shopping!!