Kimbers’ Farm Shop – The Real Deal.

It is always good to get out & kick the tyres so to speak…you meet many good folks at the local farmers markets but it is always reassuring to pay them an up close & personal visit to check out what is under the hood. So it was that I’d met Ruth Kimber & family @ the local Frome Farmers Market & on a sunny day (rare in these parts) last week, I dropped into Kimbers’ Farm Shop in Charlton Musgrove, just north of Wincanton.


Kimber’s Farm Shop – Smack Dab in the Middle of the Farm

Ruth & her husband Paul have been farming since 1973 but the Kimber family farming history stretches back a good 300 or so years. And much of the family is still actively involved with 2 working full time at the farm & many others helping out @ the farm shop or farmers markets.

The Kimbers are proud to tell you (and rightly so) that much of what they sell, whether at the farm shop or farmers markets, comes straight from the farm. In fact, standing in front of the farm shop proper you can see it for yourself as you are standing smack dab in the middle of the farm.


On site butcher hard @ work; a cornucopia of local products & a full range of Kimber Farm Meats.

The Kimbers sell free range beef, Gloucester Old Spot pork, farm made bacon & sausages (their butcher, also on site, has been with them for more than 10 years), lamb & hogget & mutton, welfare friendly veal, chicken, duck and turkey – phew! And if you happen to be into unpasteurised milk (and you can get pasteurised too) for your yogurt or cheese making (it makes a mean ricotta), you can get that here too.

And I was quite impressed with their charcuterie range…readers of my previous blogs may remember my puzzlement at the scarcity of charcuterie in the UK given the wonderful supply of the key ingredient – excellent meats. Well the Kimbers do it in spades here with a full range on offer from pancetta to bresaola.


Ruth Kimber

So make an effort folks to catch the Kimbers at one of the local farmers markets (they do Frome, Shaftesbury & Bath) or drop by the farm shop or you can even shop online!

Well I have decided to close this post with one of my fave ‘go to’ recipes that the Kimber’s mixed veal was critically essential:

 Quick & Easy Thai 

600 grams Veal mince (but you can also use Pork mince)
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
100 grams green beans, cut into 2 cm lengths (or you can use carrots in season if the beans are not)
4 red shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon roasted chilli paste (or Sambal Olek)
70 ml fish sauce (5 tablespoons)
1 1/2 tablespoons each dark soy sauce & sweet soy sauce
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 handful roughly chopped coriander leaves or basil or both!
1-2 chillies optional, chopped
This amount makes about 4 portions so if you have more Veal (Pork) then scale up the other ingredients….
1. Heat about 60ml of oil in a decent sized fry pan or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic & pork & stir-fry until beginning to brown – about 4 to 5 minutes & use a wooden spoon to keep breaking up the big bits into smaller & smaller mince sized pieces.
2. Add beans, shallots and chilli paste and stir through until fragrant – about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add fish sauce & soy sauces (I pre-mix them all together in a bowl beforehand to simplify & make for a quick add) and cook until pork is cooked through and liquid reduced by about half (5 – 6 minutes). Season to taste with sugar, fish sauce and/or soy sauces. We tend to find it is just about right as more fish or soy tends to push it over the salty edge.
4. Remove from heat & toss through chopped coriander/basil leaves & serve with rice. And to add just a tad more heat we typically top with a small bit of diced fresh red chilli. Easy peezy…and makes great leftovers for the microwave the next day for lunch….

Missing Melbourne’s Markets…

While on my New Zealand fly fishing sabbatical I managed to sneak in a wee side trip to my old haunt Melbourne to catch up with some great friends & re-acquaint myself with the marvel that are Melbourne’s markets.


Melbourne’s Old Lady – The Queen Vic Market

To say Melbourne is literally littered with markets might just be an understatement as they seem to be in just about every nook or cranny that will host one. I managed to make my way to three of my bog standard destinations – Queen Vic, the South Melbourne Market and the Prahran Market.


South Melbourne Market – Awesome Place

In my typical week while living in Melbourne I would visit at least one of these markets, and sometimes 2 or 3 of them to round up supplies & see what was in or coming into season. When we moved to the UK I was a bit giddy with food anticipation being just a stone’s throw from the likes of France, Spain and Italy (and old England too). But I would have to say that the selection of produce & fine foods in Melbourne’s markets beats what we have access to here in the UK. And I still have not figured out exactly why….one answer might be the seriously crushing dominance of the supermarkets who mainly stock their own ‘home brand’ products, thus blocking out the likes of artisanal Italian olive oils or risotto rices or French or Spanish charcuterie.


And I cannot really point to a cultural aspect to argue that Australia is more accustomed to or accepting of markets than the UK as the UK has an extensive history of actual market towns. Prior to the 19th century, people in the UK were mainly involved in agriculture and livestock farming and needed places to sell their goods – viola, market towns.

Or maybe you just have to be in the one of the Big Smokes (London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, etc…) to have access to more specialised continental goods.

In the last 10 years or so there has been a bit of push back here in the UK in the form of farmers markets and a plethora of farm shops, but neither of these comes close to the diversity and range on offer at Melbourne’s markets.


Seafood Galore @ South Melbourne Market

And though my backpack was stuffed to the gills with fishing gear (I was 4kg’s over weight), I managed to squeeze in some ‘only in Melbourne’ goodies for my pantry in Frome…Melbourne, you do not know how market lucky & rich you are!


Long Time, No Post…

Ahuriri Collage2

Ahuriri RIver, Otago, New Zealand

…and the reason being I was in New Zealand for 3 months fly fishing for the most wily of trouts they have there…we miss our home as the scenery, even for some jaded Kiwis, is still on the magnificent side. And the fly fishing…well lets just say it is a wee notch or three above the UK. Best thing is once you have paid your $126 NZ season’s license fee, the country’s rivers are your oyster. Next to no ownership of water or fishing clubs controlling water rights or your fishing limited to a couple hundred metres of the right bank. Fishing Freedom – with 2 capital F’s.

Photos from 4 Events

Wily New Zealand Trouts

But glad to be back on the UK home front even if the weather still mostly sucks…Spring seems to have sprung a big leak but I am assured that this is nothing compared to the winter I mostly missed.


Stourhead Farm Shop – Sweet.

So with a peep or two of sunlight yesterday, I fired up my trusty Series III Land Rover to re-start my local food tiki tours and first on the “drop in” list was the Stourhead Farm Shop at this lovely National Trust property.

And just like the property itself, the farm shop is equally lovely and stuffed with wonderful array of local culinary goodies. The farm shop is run as a separate business by the Harris & Hoare families. Stephen Harris has won awards for his organic beef and the awesome looking venison comes from the Hoare family’s woodlands which is the part of the Stourhead estate they retained. And the lamb and pork are also locally sourced from Richard Hickman’s Sparkford Farm & Mr. Riggs of Shepton respectively.



Fruit & Veggie Stand


A Deli of Delights

So it was far too hard to resist pulling the wallet out & these were my goodies of choice – go & check it out & choose your own!


Sunday’s Roast