If you love farm shops as much as we do, you will adore Fodder, which can be found on the edge of the Great Yorkshire Showground – home of July’s Great Yorkshire Show – off the Wetherby Road outskirts of Harrogate.
As I write, Fodder is being treated to a major refurb, due to re-open May 1, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like. It looked pretty darned fabulous before its refurb, so I can’t imagine what I’ll find at the re-opening, but not long to go now.
Fodder began around five or six years ago (seems like last year to me), as a venture to help local farmers and producers sell their products in beautiful, accessible surroundings. Then the truly fantastic Fodder cafe opened (cakes, smoked salmon and eggs, sausage sandwiches, loads more and all wonderful) and there is also an outside seating area with a life size toy horse and cart, presumably for children to play on, plus panoramic views across the Crimple Valley.
Fodder now features and supports more than 300 farmers and small producers and has a staff or more than 40 people, including four butchers.
The fruit and vegetable displays at Fodder are very special – it all looks so luscious and fresh, it could entice the most fruit-phobic of customers. Then there’s the meat. I like to pick up a huge bag of stewing steak when I go in. It’s really good quality and I keep it in the freezer until I have guests (usually my meat-loving parents) and make a casserole (using a Nigella recipe). My mum always says I make too much, but we tend to eat the lot, that night.
It’s not just about the food, however, because there are lots of small designer-makers featured in Fodder, and it’s an excellent place to go for crafty and unusual gifts and home wares, many but by no means all with a foodie flavour.
Based near Pateley Bridge, Hulton Crafts is a mother and son team who produce kits to make rag rugs, mosaics, cards and so on, started to help with the young son’s progress and self-esteem. They have a lovely website, with recipes too, so check out http://hultoncrafts.co.uk/.
Based near Skipton, Wild Wood Gifts creates beautiful food boards, table centre pieces and other stunning and unique home wares and gifts in quality oak and other hardwoods, including reclaimed. They have an excellent website too – http://www.wildwoodgifts.co.uk/ – which tells me that they are preparing to take part in the Dales Festival of Food & Drink, which takes place in Leyburn from this Saturday, May 2-4. More can be found out on http://www.dalesfestivaloffood.org/ but it’s on the outskirts of the town on the A684 and attractions this year include Gervase Phinn as speaker, evening events on Saturday and Sunday in partnership with North Country Theatre, chefs from local restaurants demonstrating cookery skills, the Step this Way Appalachian clog dancers, a Love Science workshop for children and a country crafts section, plus the Food Hall, the Real Ales and Cider Festival and lots more. Tickets can be bought on the day at the Festival site ticket office.
Back to Fodder, which also features beauty and body products from Wolds Way Lavender, which is based near Malton and can be checked out on: http://woldswaylavender.co.uk/ – it distils from its own lavender grown on 12 acres of the wolds. Try the Soothing Muscle Rub, £12 (cyclists in this weekend’s Tour de Yorkshire would be well advised to get some in).
Then there’s Funky Candles from Funky Country, which is based near York, and makes high quality pure mineral and vegetable waxes, in flavours including Figgy Figgy and Honey Pot, well priced at £15 (on the site) for one that burns for 40 hours. Find them on http://www.funkycountry.co.uk/index.html
Finally, don’t miss the wide and eye-popping selection of sauces, chutneys, jams and relishes, locally produced and fabulously tasty.
Fodder – already brilliant, and now it’s going to be even better. Find out more on http://www.fodder.co.uk/