Discover our pick of online farm shops that deliver higher welfare meat and sustainable produce from British farms to your door.

We love little more than a browse around a farm shop in the (we’ll admit) slightly smug knowledge that nothing we buy will contain chemicals or preservatives. What’s more, the local aspect drastically reduces the food miles of what’s on offer, plus they look infinitely more appealing than the supermarket, making us feel like we’re shopping as our grandmothers would once have done. So far, so self-satisfying.

But urban lives mean it’s not always possible to make it to a physical store (plus, driving long distances for lower environmental impact food is somewhat counter productive). But that’s no reason not to feed yourself field-to-fork unprocessed food produced and raised on British farms. Sure they have to deliver to you, but we rationalise that they feed many houses with one journey, rather than multiple. Here are some of our favourites.

Swillington Organic Farm


This award-winning Leeds-based 500-acre farm and its appealing website offer grass-fed, low stress sustainably farmed meat boxes, as well as veg boxes and eggs. The eco-friendly farm produces fully organic (Swillington was an early converter in 1999) and free-range animals, as well as placing a big focus on creating a diverse range of habitats that includes woodland, marsh, pasture and ponds. As the website proudly proclaims, ‘We provide a haven for wildlife alongside the perfect conditions for our rare breed breed cattle and sheep and seasonal free range pigs and organic poultry production.’ The meat boxes, which you can order either monthly or bi-monthly, cost £55, while veg boxes are £35 per month and it’s £96 for a year’s supply of eggs. Choose between ‘Flexitarian’, ‘Flexitarian Family’ and ‘Ethical Carnivore’ when you sign up, and Swillington will make up a box to suit your needs.

Piper’s Farm


Piper’s Farm is based in Devon but delivers all over the UK and to parts of the Scottish Highlands. One glance at its website is enough to have you clicking away in an ordering frenzy. The photography is sublime, and there is even a journal which covers matters such as how to cure your own bacon and recipes to suit the seasons.



But fear not, it’s not all style over substance; after all, Pipers has been at the sustainable farming game a long time. As founder Peter Greig explains, ‘Founded in 1989, Pipers Farm is a destination for meat that is produced sustainably and in harmony with nature. We create links between ethical producers who we know and trust, and with you, our customer. Our ethics and values are deep-rooted to the core of our business. We passionately believe in producing wholesome natural food that has been grown with respect for nature. Our principles have not changed for over 30 years and you can rest assured that we will continue to produce food that you can trust completely.’ You can buy seasonal meat boxes, as well as artisan cheese, grass-fed milk and butters and hugely enticing pantry staples, from artisan bread and oils to stocks and broth and handmade pies. There are boxes for special events too (the Valentine’s offering may be a little late, but do check in for Easter boxes soon) and there’s even a cellar with lots of English wines to raid.

Riverford Organic Farmers



No round up of online farm shops would be complete without mention of Riverford. Of all of the shops on this list and beyond, it’s the one that has cut through most successfully; the award-winning originally Devon-based farm, headed up by Guy Watson, now delivers 47,000 boxes a week around the UK, all from scattered local farms. We love its introductory video, as well as its model. Rather than simply delivering fresh seasonal foods, Riverford’s boxes contain great recipes and all the locally grown ingredients to make them. There are lots of box options – for example, fruit, fruit and veg, fruit plus every day meat – but you can also go off piste and build your own. Simply enter your postcode in the pop-up box on the website and see what’s on the menu in your area this week.

Kilnford Farm Shop


What the brilliantly named Jock Rome doesn’t know about sustainable farming is, frankly, not worth knowing: his family have been at it for some 300 years. As the website explains, ‘His Galloway beef and Blackface lamb graze on high land just a few miles from his farm shop at Kilnford, he farms with great integrity and his pigs have been awarded the highest Freedom Food award from the RSPCA.’ Jock opened his farm shop in 2011 to make his home-reared produce available to his local community. Now the rest of us are lucky enough to be able to order it online too. There are home-cured gammon joints, Galloway Beef Rib roasts and Galloway pies, amongst other delicious offerings, as well as eggs and fruit and veg boxes. If you do happen to be in the area, do pop in to Kilnford’s restaurant, which cooks up glorious breakfasts and gorgeous grills.

Padstow Farm Shop


Its website may not be quite as slick, but Padstow Farm Shop is every bit as lovely as the others on this list. It began life in 2006 in the Cornish village nicknamed Padstein, thanks to Rick Stein’s monopoly over it, and has since been voted south-west regional winner in The RSPB Nature of Farming Awards. It has all the usual meat and store cupboard products, but what we’re particularly intrigued by is its Padstow Pasta, made with the farm’s home-grown, 100 per cent whole durum wheat. Jamie Oliver is said to be a fan.

The Garlic Farm


One for those with niche interests when it comes to their farm shop habits, this. But worth a mention, nonetheless. This Isle of Wight-based farm proves that there is way more to the humble kitchen staple than supermarket-bought bulbs. The website features tips for growing garlic, recipes involving garlic and seeds to grow your own with. But there are also lovely hampers filled with mayonnaise, pestos and the like – as well, of course, as a myriad of garlic varieties. Solent Wight Bulb Plait Iberian Wight, Smoked, Black or Baby Elephant, anyone?

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February 2020
By Nancy Alsop

Nancy Alsop

Editor

Nancy has worked as a journalist for fifteen years.

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