a rainbow of locally grown fruit and vegetables, an array of premium quality produce, an ocean of seafood delights and endless rows of bottles, boxes, jars, tubs and tins. not to mention sections for lifestyle, homeware, outdoor and gifts. oh and a health spa. can you believe this is all under one roof? i couldn't either.
we just happened to be passing through on our way back to the midlands from our cornwall break when i thought it'd be nice to find somewhere interesting to have lunch rather than in a faceless service station. so i ran my battery down a considerable amount in researching places along the m5, a30, bristol, exeter way and ran it totally flat taking as many pictures as i could.
i thought i'd stepped into foodie heaven.
as i entered darts farm i was met with a multitude of crates packed with colourful fruit and veg - a sort of fresh indoor market feel with a rustic boutique finish. alongside this were islands of delicious juices from the likes of luscome and belvoir as well as walls full of chutneys, condiments, honeys, jams and marmalades. and of course my beloved cider - a section which was a big as a little farm shop alone.
round the corner there was an extensive butchery, fridges and freezer full of quality dairy, shelves of confectionery and a fabulous range of pasta and dry goods - either locally produced or sourced from their origin. it really was a place for everything; perhaps find a great gift, pick up something unusual to cook with, takeaway or eat in something for lunch, browse the deli or get your weekly vegetable shop.
cake cake cake. the deli counter was packed with baking treats from millionaire's shortbread to vegetable quiches. but what did we choose for lunch? well i saw "the fish shed" sign and ran over to see what it was all about.
fish and chips... but not just your average cod, haddock or plaice. this fishmongers took pride in being able to offer any of your favourite seafood treats in batter with homemade chips. you could also of course buy fresh fish to take home and cook yourself. and what a fish counter it was too - i could hardly choose! what would you pick?
i was so torn between deep fried monkfish or scallops but in the end my boyfriend and i both went for the monkfish. we were there in mid july when every corner of the uk seemed to be drenched in sun - so we of course sat outside in the sun to enjoy our delicious monkfish with chips (skin on - the best way!), obligatory mushy peas and tasty tartare sauce. of course with a squeeze of lemon and lashings of salt and vinegar.
i hope the photograph does it justice as it really did seem like such a treat compared to the usual white fish. being cooked in a goujon style kept the moisture of the fish in even more so and you could tell the batter was freshly made. not that there's anything wrong with classic cod or haddock of course but i think branching out to other white fish is a good thing for a change - and good for sustainability too.
my boyfriend treated himself to some shortbread whilst i found room for stem ginger ice cream. i also bought some squid ink pasta which i've tried out with a scallop dish - recipe on the blog soon! and so off we went on our way back up north (once i was dragged away from the cath kidston shop) with full bellies and happy faces.
this isn't even the half of it! so if you're ever along the m5 near exeter, just nip off onto the a376 to topsham and see the little (actually quite massive) gem for yourselves :)