A Somerset Christmas Dinner
PUBLISHED: 11:00 04 December 2013
It’s nearly time for one of the most anticipated dinners of the year, so to help you out we’ve compiled a guide to some of the best farms, shops and markets that Somerset has to offer. We also have some great Christmas cooking advice from some of our Food and Drink Awards 2013 winners.
Beech Hayes Farm, Churchinford
Ruth and Nick at Beech Hayes Farm have been producing quality Christmas turkeys for 20 years and this year, as well as their traditional barn-reared birds, they will have a new Blackdown Bronze Free-range. Beechhayesfarm.co.uk 01823 601565.
Kimbers Farm Shop, Wincanton
This family-run farm has a top priority of welfare with its mixed stock farm. Its quality is maintained by using wholesome animal feed including homegrown wheat, maize/grass silage and meadow hay. Kimbers has an online shop and regularly attends farmers’ markets throughout the county. Kimbersfarmshop.co.uk 01963 33177.
Farm 2 Fork, Taunton
This small farm currently rears 160 free-range geese for the Christmas market. All of the geese are sold direct to the customer via the website farm2fork.co.uk which offers a nationwide delivery service, as well as farm gate collection.
The farm rears Legarth strain geese, the top selling gosling in the UK. Farm2fork.co.uk 01823 452203.
What the chefs say...
What is your top tip for a perfect turkey/goose? Is there a secret cooking method?
Mulberry’s Restaurant and Grill, Yeovil:
Rest the bird for as long as you cook it.
The Anchor Inn, Taunton:
Always make sure you plan in enough time to allow the meat to rest once it’s cooked. Take it out of the oven, cover it with tin foil and insulate with three to four tea towels. Let the meat rest for 30 minutes. This will make for a moist and tender Christmas turkey or goose!
The Monkton Inn, West Monkton:
The secret to the perfect turkey is to cook in a Webber or similar kettle BBQ ( Braai) prepare the coals, place the turkey in the centre of the grill, place a large piece of Spec (bacon fat) on top of the bird, close the lid and enjoy a few beers while the bird cooks.
Farrington’s Farm Shop, Bristol
Farrington’s Farm consists of 60 acres of fields with full Soil Association Organic status for growing the tastiest vegetables and cereals. It treats the vegetables with love - not chemicals and pesticides. Once the fresh veg is picked from the fields, it is delivered to Farringtons HQ at Home Farm, where it is either sold to customers or sent into the kitchens to be made into homemade dishes for the café and farm shop.
In 2011 Farrington’s was named Countryside Alliance British Champions of Local Food and in 2012 was delighted to be awarded FARMA UK Retailer of the Year for the second time (having previously won in 2004) farringtons.co.uk 01761 452266.
Pitney Farm Shop
Nine miles from Glastonbury, this farm shop prides itself on locality and sells organic and seasonal foods. Produce is bought from local farms, and is also grown on the shop’s own 100 acre Glebe farm. It has been farmed by the Walrond family for more than 200 years with three generations involved on the farm today. Conversion to full organic status was completed in March 2001 and it is now a licensed grower and processor with the Soil Association. Pitneyfarmshop.co.uk 01458 253002.
What the chefs say...
What do you suggest for putting an interesting twist on traditional Christmas vegetables?
The Anchor Inn:
Sprouts are a favourite in our house (especially pulled straight from the garden!) I simmer the sprouts for five minutes, drain them and then pan fry, adding butter, shallots, pancetta and a splash of balsamic vinegar for that extra bit of flavour.
For carrots, cut them as batons – this allows them to stay tender and a little crunchy. Don’t cook them in too much water, just an inch in the bottom of the pan. Add a knob of butter, a splash of orange juice and lots of black pepper!
The Monkton Inn:
Try roasted butternut squash with a dusting of nutmeg.
Mulberry’s Restaurant and Grill:
Toasted almonds and crispy bacon with Brussel sprouts.
There is a fantastic choice of farmers markets throughout the county filled with local produce perfect for your Christmas dinner. Buy direct from farmers and enjoy the fresh foods available at these regular markets.
The first Saturday of every month, 9am-1pm in The Square.
Next date is 7 December and a special Christmas market will be on 22 December 10am-1.30pm. BS26 2APA.
The last Friday of every month, 9am-1pm on the High Street.
Next dates are 29 November and 20 December. TA8 1PB.
The third Friday of every month, 9am-1pm in the Cheddar Garden Centre car park.
Next date is 20 December. BS27 3RU.
The third Saturday of every month, 9am-1pm in The Cheese and Grain.
Next date is 14 December and a Christmas market will be held on 22 December, 10am-1.30pm. BA11 1BE.
The fourth Saturday of the month, 9am-2pm in the Market Place.
Next date is 21 December. BA6 9EU.
Every Thursday, 9am-3pm in Taunton High Street.