Ok we have thought long and hard about this, we are very pro (some would say fanatical about) local shopping, using suppliers that produce goods then sell them, that source locally, or even small independents that have a local presence.
We find we can get 90% of our food shopping needs from farm shops, local produce suppliers, and independant stores, but that does come at a cost. At Living Gentler we have to accept some additional cost as a trade off for reducing our carbon footprint, and minimising plastic waste, but we will always favour retailers that let us do that as close to cost neutal when compared to big retail as possible.
We welcome suggestions, and will make every effort to try them and include them here.
This is not a suppliers directory as can be found elsewhere online, you cannot pay to get on this list, we have to feel that you fit with our living gentler ethic, and have products that are of good quality.
For our purposes East Anglia encompasses, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk. We also dip into Hertfordshire and London occassionally so have specifically included businesses we use that way to.
We do not group by county, just by business type. We would encourage you to try as many of these businesses as possible as it puts money in people rather than corporations pockets.
We will post regular updates as we use more businesses.
There are many brewers in East Anglia, we are not including the large commercial breweries or pub co’s in these listings.
St. Peters Brewery, St. Peter South Elmham, Bungay, Suffolk. A range of flavoursome beers including alcohol free brewed in the Suffolk countryside. Beers are available in major supermarkets, but best bought direct from the brewer. The brewery shop is currently closed but online orders are welcome. Website www.stpetersbrewery.co.uk
Stow Fen Brewing Co, just up the road from our friends at Fen Farm on Flixton Road is the Stow Fen Microbrewery. They have a range of 4 plus beers, we have sampled the Amber in depth. Its great for evening supping, and for making beer bread. Find them on facebook by following this link
Moongazer Ale. We buy Moongazer ales from a variety of sources on our travels across east anglia. Their range of beers are available on line for national delivery. We have sampled several of their uniquely Norfolk named ales, all are bursting with flavour. Moongazer can be found at www.moongazerales.co.uk also on facebook, and twitter where they are @moongazerale
Butchers – see also farm shops
E W Revett and Son Wickham Market, Suffolk. Primarily a very good local butchers, Revetts always compete successfully in the Framlingham sausage festival. The store has three elements, butchery, bakers, and purveyors of wines of France. Friendly staff reasonable prices and good quality.
Their website is www.revett.co.uk to find out more.
K W Clarke Bramfield, Suffolk. Also acting as the village store this butchers is located adjacent to the wholesale Bramfield Meats business. There is always a good range of fresh and frozen meats. Game and poultry including venison and wild boar.
Their website is www.kwclarke.co.uk/ for more info.
M&M Rutland Melton Constable, Norfolk. Billed as a specialist butcher and selling a wide range of free range meat Rutlands was a nice find for us. You can have your bacon cut how you want here so we opted for them to thick cut some treacle cured bacon, and we bought some of their free range pork sausages which gave us a wonderfully flavoured dinner that night.
Do expect to see great hulking cuts of beef bone in on display as well as Norfolk Haggis, and free range mutton when available. Its a bit of a trek for us but when out that way we will drop by again. Rutlands website is www.rutland-butchers.co.uk
Meat Market Brandon, Suffolk. A market towns butchers on the high street, limited parking is available. Good quality meats at reasonable prices. No website but can be found on facebook.
Yallops butchers and post office Mundford, Suffolk. A butchers, post office and village store, very high quality meat at a price to match, especially good for steaks and beef. No website but can be found on facebook.
We only buy farm fresh milk both Raw and Pasteurised, where possible we use our glass refillable bottles, but some farms do not yet bottle in glass or vend from a machine, we would still recommend their products as environmentally they are still low carbon footprint, and produced by farmers that really care about both livestock and the product quality. We also buy cream, butter and cheese from farm suppliers where possible.
Amwell Place Farm (Dawlicious), Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire. Barry, Jenny, and Claire, along with their Bluegrass and Bluerock Jersey herd supply delicious or should we say Dawlicious raw Jersey milk, and Dawlicious Jersey milk ice cream direct from the farm. Milk is via a vending machine allowing use of our glass refillable bottles which we love! Or plastic containers are available if you need them. Free range eggs are also regularly available. Bulk orders can be made in advance and collected from the farm.
The farm is fairly handy for the A10 on the outskirts of Hertford, so we generally incorporate a visit on our way into or out of London. More information is available on the Dawlicious website or on their Twitter or Facebook pages.
Bradfields farm, North Benfleet, Essex. Suppliers of farm fresh pasteurised milk direct from the farm via their vending machine (Reusable glass bottles are available). They also sell cream, cheese and yogurt made from their milk. Bradfields supplies a range of outlets from farm shops, coffee bars and a pub. They can also be found at selected farmers markets. Details can be found on their website www.bradfieldsfarm.co.uk
Calf at foot dairy, Home Farm, Somerleyton, Suffolk. Fiona and her ‘Dairy Angels’ passionately believe in farming with compassion, and run their microdairy with animal welfare as a defining factor. Calf at foot offers national next day delivery, as well as farm gate sales (currently unavailable during the Covid-19 outbreak). Not only does Calf at foot offer their 100% pasture fed Jersey milk, they also offer their ethicalky farmed Jersey, Gold Top beef. Please see their website for more information at www.the-calf-at-foot-dairy.co.uk/ or find them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CalfAtFootDairy and facebook www.facebook.com/CalfAtFootDairy/
Colletts farm Kitchen, Wormingford, Essex. Suppliers of raw Jersey milk from a small sustainably farmed heard of Jersey cows. Milk is available prebottled in plastic containers, or reusable glass bottles (deposit payable) and forms a delicious creamy top when stood in the fridge! Colletts farm also have a small farm shop selling pies, pastries and meats, all sourced from their farm. More details can be found on their website or social media. www.collettsfarm.co.uk on Twitter or Facebook
Coston hall dairy, Coston, Norfolk. Fresh raw milk from the Friesan / Friesan Jersey cross heard. The milk always forms a nice cream ‘cap’ ideal for pouring over breakfast cereals. The team also have free range local eggs, local bread as well as meats and potatoes for sale in their milk barn. Their website can be found at www.costonhalldairy.co.uk and on the socials at @costonhalldairy & facebook
Dawlicious, see Amwell End Farm.
Fen Farm Dairy, it was here we first bought fresh raw milk. Pulling in off the Flixton Road Bungay at the milkshed was a whole new experience for us, but one we have repeated several times. In some ways it was this experience that gelled everything together in our heads and spurred us on in our Living Gentler journey.
Fen Farm seem to be the big boys in East Anglian raw milk and associated produts. Foulgers will deliver milk from Fen Farm if you live in their distribution area.
Fen farm also produces and sells Baron Bigod cheeses, and Skyer yogurts. Fresh artisan bread and meats are also available alongside milk and coffee from the vending machines 24 hours a day 7 days a week…. Fen farm can be found at www.fenfarmdairy.co.uk and on the socials including twitter and facebook
Old Hall Farm, Woodton. Another local raw milk and raw milk products producer, the team have expanded their business to include a butchery, shop and cafe. We will put a full review under farm shops.
Suffolk farmhouse cheeses, found off the A140 at Creeting St. Mary, aka Whitegate farm. The team sell farm pasteurised whole and semiskimmed milk from their vending machine. They also produce Suffolk Gold, Suffolk Blue, a Brie like raw milk cheese, and herby cream cheese, some of which can be bought in the milk room from a vending machine when their farm shop is closed.
The team here have great plans for the future and a look at their website www.suffolkcheese.co.uk is recommended. They can also be found on twitter, and facebook see our entry under farmshops for more of what they sell.
We find farm shops come in broadly two styles, those that provide the basics fruit, veg, eggs etc, as locally sourced as possible if not produced on the farm, these usually have friendly one to one service. Then there are the farm shop supermarkets, those that provide something of everything, potentially have their own butchers and green grocery, they often sell regionally produced products alongside their own. The other thing we notice are prices, some farmshops seem to charge the proces they need to make a profit, others are considerably more expensive possibly because you are buying from a niche provider. We do not make a judgement on either business model, we leave that to the customers.
Alder Carr farm shop
Emerdale Farm Shop
Hen and Hog
Lower Dairy Farm Nayland Essex. Slightly off the beaten track but not far from the A12 and Colchester, Lower Dairy Farm is a delight. Their website gives a lot of information about their beef herd, free range pork and eggs. They also sell walnuts in season and offer eco-camping. Take care when parking up there are truly free range chickens roaming around!
We rate Lower Dairy Farms beef as some of the best we have ever tasted and its not massively expensive either!
Old Hall Farm Woodton Norfolk.
Originally built around raw channel island milk and milk products from the farms Jersey herd. Old hall farm are one of an increasing number of farms that believe in keeping the cow and calf together for up to eight months. This means less milk for the farmer to sell but is a great step forward in welfare when compared to much dairy farming where the calf is removed and weaned soon after birth. The family that own Old Hall have farmed here for decades and have created a wonderful opportunity for people to connect with where their food comes from. The farm shop stocks all of the families milk and milk products, fruit, vegetables, and also a wide range of other Norfolk centric food products from a range of suppliers. There is a well stocked butchery counter which features Old Halls own milk fed pork, and a lovely cafe featuring some lovely local food and magnificent cakes. Old Hall Farm does a range of special events (pumpkin weekend etc) so it is worth keeping an eye on their website which is linked from here. Old hall are also on the usual socials click the links for their Twitter feed and Facebook.
Place Farm shop (Place farm Eggs and More)
Nice friendly little farm shop that stocks a range of farm and local produce at what we think is are very fair prices. Love the fresh cut chestnut mushrooms, flour from Norfolk Watermill, and of course the eggs. Easily found in Stuston on the outskirts of Diss in Norfolk just follow the brown ‘Farm shop’ signs.
Suffolk Farmhouse Cheese – Whitegate Farm, Creating St. Mary (on the A140). The Salisburys and their team have to be the friendliest people we have ever come across while visiting numerous farm shops. They always ask after the family, remember details of your conversation and make you feel really welcome. If there is a problem they sort it then and there and ensure the customer leaves happy!
Not only is there gorgeous full fat or semi skimmed milk from their Gurnsey / Jersey cows (see our milk page and the entry on here under Dairies) but also the famous Suffolk Gold Cheeses, and their Suffolk Brie available from the milk room or the farmshop. Going down to the shop you may pass piglets or calves, our girls love looking at them.
In store there is a range of fruit and veg, cheese of course as well as bread, sauces, and meats. Available meats are Pork, Lamb, Goat, and Beef, all low food miles as they are all from farm raised stock. Meat availability does vary with the season as you would expect with small high welfare herds but prices are very reasonable and in some cases cheaper than the mass produced supermarket alternative…
Suffolk Food Hall – Ipswich, We have included the food hall in with farm shops as it sells local produce. But it really is a local foods supermarket. If you want to go to a veritable Harrods of the local food world? Take a trip to the Suffolk food hall located on the bank of the Orwell. It is almost under the gracefull Orwell bridge with good parking facilities. The food hall is a place to eat, it has a home and gift shop, a garden centre and the food hall itself. Many well known local names are represented here, including Stokes, Adnams, Wilkins and sons plus many others. There is a chocolate counter (about 4 chocolates for £10) deli, fruit and veg as well as a deli.
They also in normal times offer various cooking, and home beautification courses. So everything is nice, the foods are great, and the restaurant does a great breakfast.
The downside? For us as a champion of buying local on a budget we feel the food hall serves a particular audience. We go a few times a year to buy treat foods and gifts as our budget would not stretch to regular shopping.
If we find a problem we will say so after we have discussed it with the people concerned, as we feel if something goes wrong they should have a chance to put things right.
There will be places we haven’t mentioned it isn’t because they are no good, its just because we haven’t found them yet!