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 produce.
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 town’s butchers on the high street, limited parking is available. An extensive range of good quality meats, some of it locally sourced, all available at reasonable prices. Unfortunately there is no website but they can be found on facebook.
Palfrey & Hall Debenham, Suffolk. A high quality butchers that also sells a range of other products including a selection of chutneys, jams, chilli sauces, dressings, crisps, snacks and scratchings as well as chocolate and sweets. selected beers, and spirits. There is also milk vending machine supplying milk from the herd at Suffolk Farmhouse cheeses. Palfrey & Hall source their meats locally and also offer a processing facility for local small holders wanting meat cut, smoked or cured. Quality taste and flavour are all important here. The shop is on Debenham High Street, or can be found here
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, we stopped buying supermarket milk nearly four years ago and only occassionally purchase what we now see as a substandard product in the event of illness or emergency. We buy both Raw and Pasteurised milk and where possible we use our glass refillable bottles. Unfortunately some farms do not yet bottle in glass or vend from a machine, that does not stop us recommending their products as environmentally they are still low carbon footprint, and produced by farmers that really care about both livestock and the product quality. Where available we also buy cream, butter and cheese from farm suppliers as much as possible.
The farms we use are;
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, We are sorry to see Calf at foot leave East Anglia, but this is a huge step forward for teh pioneers of calf friendly dairy farming Northamptonshire’s gain is Suffolk’s loss. Fiona and her ‘Dairy Angels’ passionately believe in farming with compassion, and run their micro-dairy 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 ethically 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 pre-bottled 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 Friesian / Friesian 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 have put a full review under farm shops, as they now have a butchery and farm shop specialising in local produce, and a wonderful Cafe where home made products feature strongly, all of which can be enjoyed while drinking in the scenery.
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 often as a family concern. 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. We appreciate that as businesses both need to make a profit but it seems some shops are considerably more expensive than others possibly because they feel you are buying from a niche provider. We do not make a judgement on either business model, we leave that to the customers, our ethic is to support independents and as far as possible do so without increasing our family budget, so we pick and choose what we buy from where as bargains are there to be had while putting money into teh local community.
Alder Carr farm shop, located at Creeting St. Mary between the A140 and Needham Market.
We would categorise Alder Carr as a farm shop supermarket as it can provide everything you need for a day to day shop. They have a well stocked butchery, a deli counter, local beers bread and veg. We mostly make use of their refillables, we buy local rapeseed oil filled into our own bottle, handwash and washing up liquids. It is cost effective, and reduces our plastic consumption which has to be good! Also their scotch eggs from the deli counter are very tasty so we have to get at least one when we are there….
In normal times there is a coffee shop, and a kids play area available. It is also possible to walk the farms nature trails and in summer buy an ice cream!
Emmerdale Farm Shop, Westleton Road, near Darsham, Suffolk. Emmerdale is another farm shop that we would describe as a farm supermarket. Local and regional produce is available, there is a good butchery counter but on the day we went there was no fresh free range chicken available. Emmerdale does stock the locally renowned Blythburgh Free Range Pork which we see as a huge bonus. Everything from a sausage to frozen ready meals are available as well as some garden centre and pet supplies, as well as fresh fruit and veg along with regional and local tinned, bottled and jarred products that can be found in most farm shops locally. Prices range from reasonable to expensive and like many farm shops we would have to increase our family budget to become regulars and do a full food shop. That said a visit is worthwhile and it is only a short hop off the A12 from Yoxford if you want to break your journey for a snack in their tea rooms. The website gives much more info at www.emmerdalefarmshop.co.uk and they can also be reached on facebook
Grange Farm, Grundisburg. Handily located between the A12 at Melton, and the village of Grundisburg on Grundisburgh Road. Grange farm is a mini farm supermarket, importantly for us they sell Fruitpig black pudding, they also sell butchery items from KW Clark (Bramfield) locally sourced seasonal fruit and veg is available as is a range of toiletries and gift products. The ethos of Grange farm is local sourcing, of organic and sustainable products within a family run business.
Green Farm not far from the market town of Saxmundham on the edge of Benhall village. A small shop selling mainly seasonal produce from the farm and surrounding area. Prices are reasonable and quality has always seemed to be good. Most produce is prebagged (in paper). Worth a visit if you are out that way. They can be found on Facebook
Hen and Hog, Debenham Road, Stonham Aspal. A small farm shop with a range of local and regional products. Hen and Hog understandably have a focus on low food mile chicken and pork. All chicken is free range and is sold via the butchery counter. In our opinion while the product is excellent there is a lot of plastic packaging which for us is problematic, and purchasing there would not allow us to meet our goal of not increasing our budget. That said the shop is well worth a visit, the staff are wonderfully friendly, and we are sure you will find somthing that will make you a returning customer. The website is http://www.hogandhenfarmshop.co.uk/ they can also be found on facebook
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 as there are truly free range chickens roaming around!
We rate Lower Dairy Farm, their beef is beef some of the best we have tasted, it is 100% grass fed, 28 day aged, and its not massively expensive either! We also love their home made jams, chutneys and sauces, and Mrs. Living Gentler has a thing for their in season wet walnuts. Lower Dairy farm can be found on Facebook Instagram and Twitter.
Oak House Farm Sprouton nr. Ipswich. The store is mainly a butchery counter, with fresh meats from a variety of sources. We note their chicken is not free range but is supplied from the local producer Diaper Poultry, we are told the poultry is from the higher welfare product range which we understand to mean barn reared rather than battery birds. Their lamb is supplied from a local farm and we believe the beef comes from their own heard. The shop gives good friendly service, and the staff are knowledgeable about where their products come from. It is thanks to Sheena one of our followers who provided a review. That we have found, tried, and are able to include Oak House farm in our listing. They can be found online at www.oakhousefarm.co.uk and on Facebook.
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 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. Look forward to them starting to stock a range of local beers.
We discovered that they try and home as many of their free range birds as possible at the end of their commercial egg producing life. I would suggest contacting Place Farm for details and further information on that.
Prutton’s Potatoes – Main Farm Stratford St. Andrew Suffolk (about 1/2 a mile from the A12)
Service is always cheerful and friendly, it is possible to go plastic free as paper bags are available for produce.
Pruttons are potato specialists so good quality potatoes are available at great prices by the bag or sack. Eggs are available in three sizes including in trays of 30.
There is always an excellent range of fruit vegetables often the freshest we can find. Plus a selection of locally made chutneys and jams. Pruttons can be found online via their Facebook page
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…
Independent retailers & village stores.
Campse Ash village store
Coddenham community shop
Elveden Estate, Elveden village, Suffolk.
Elveden is so much more than just a farm shop. You can eat drink and stay at the Elveden Inn where estate and local produces are championed. The estate does 4×4 days, archery and other outdoors pursuits. There is a post office and gift / homewares for sale as well.
The courtyard cafe is available in normal times for exquisite lunches and more. The food hall is superb, we use the butchery when we are that side of Suffolk, and make the trip there for special foodie treats to eat and drink, or to gift for foodie friends. Products here are premium as are the prices. Staff are friendly and customer service is good.
Pinneys of Orford
Suffolk Food Hall – Ipswich, We have included the food hall as it sells a wide range of local produce. Really the foodhall 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. Within sight of the gracefull Orwell bridge with good parking and facilities, the food hall is places to eat, a home and gift shop, garden centre, and childrens play area. Within the food hall itself many well known local names are represented, these include regional brands that have national exposire such as Stokes, Adnams, Wilkins and Sons, plus smaller brands and some cooked on premises products. There is a chocolate counter (about 4 chocolates for £10) a deli, fruit and veg and alcohol sales from local breweries and distillers.
In normal times the food hall offers various cooking, and home beautification courses. We have eaten celebration meals in the restaurant and it is worth a visit for breakfast alone.
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, it can be very easy to walk around the food hall and spend £100 without even thinking about it.
W Martyn, Muswell Hill, London – Obviously not East Anglia but my home area and a locally renowned landmark. Martyns have been in London since 1897 and are still owned and run by the Martyn Family. Fodor’s Travel lists them as one of London’s 15 Oldest Stores That You Can Still Visit Today. The shop has a historically listed interior, we would recommend going and seeing for yourself and while you are there sample their fine produce that they are proud to source from quality suppliers as they have done for over 120 years
Martyns roast their own coffee on site and the sell a multitude of blends and flavours, they also supply tea (loose or bagged) is another favourite product. You can take your own container and they will fill it with loose tea or coffee for you.
At Christmas they have all the wonderful foodie treats and cake making ingredients. The remainder of the stores is jams, jellies, pickles and spreads. Toffee, chocolate, herbs and spices. Prices are reasonable for a specialist shop in London and there is frequently a queue outside as in store space is limited. Martyns are online via a website Twitter and Facebook online orders are accepted.
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!