I’ve been hearing quite a bit about Crockford Bridge Farm – where local families like to go for Pick Your Own – for some time and picked up a leaflet in Gelateria Danieli recently. The fact that the farm has an ice cream parlour that sells Danieli ice cream said quite a lot about quality – for Danieli are known to sell some of the best gelato in London.
I also saw that the farm has a branch of Lidgate’s butchers, based in Holland Park, central London, who have won many prizes and are said to be one of the best butchers in London. All in all, why was I waiting to visit!
Crockford Bridge Farm is in Addlestone, near Weybridge, Surrey. It’s not that far away from me by car – a bit under half an hour. I decided to investigate yesterday afternoon.
It was a nice sunny day and I found there was plenty of parking space.
First of all I went into the farm shop to see what they have there. The butcher’s counter is the highlight but there’s plenty of other produce.
In fact you could buy most things there. Sometimes crops grown on the farm are available, depending on the season, but I guess most is reserved for the Pick Your Own business, and most produce is sourced elsewhere, though they do say ‘from growers with a focus on quality’. I recognised a lot of the makes and there was some good looking fresh produce, including more unusual things like black garlic.
My main interest here was really the meat and it did look fantastic. It’s really hard to find a decent butcher’s outside supermarkets now, so there was some appeal in seeing if Lidgate’s would be worth the occasional half-hour journey.
I didn’t buy any but it did look good and so I shall go back another time. There was some great looking bavette, which the French are good a flash-frying for a cheaper steak dish. There were some fabulous T-bone steaks. Their sausages looked good too and there were some appealing ready-prepared things like kebabs, ideal for the barbecue.
The shop is run by 5th generation Danny Lidgate and the family have 150 years experience of butchery. It looks as if it would definitely be worth a trip to Crockford just to stock up on some good meat.
There’s also a garden centre but that’s run by someone else – though handy while you’re at the farm.
Next I made my way to the heart of Crockford Bridge Farm – the fields where you can pick your own.
I was interested to see you could come with your dog if kept on a lead – though they’re not allowed in the fields for picking, so you’d need someone to stay with the dog.
As I passed into Crockford’s Corner, I immediately saw some huge pumpkins. This is one of the things you can pick, come autumn. They organise pumpkin activities over the October half term for kids and ‘Wonder Woods opens for our ever popular immersive theatrical show’.
The Tea Shack offers snacks – sandwiches, quiches, cakes, etc. I took a quick look inside and there wasn’t much on offer by the time I arrived, but the blackboard outside looked promising. So I’ll have to go there earlier another time.
There was plenty of seating, ready to accommodate large families – or bloggers on their own! I made my way into the Ice Cream Parlour. How could I resist some of Danieli’s gelato on a sunny afternoon!
I sat on a bench and slowly enjoyed my ice cream.
Then I made my way to the fields. This took me through a large play area full of wonderful things for kids: bales of hay for them to climb on, a large treehouse to play in, swings and slides. I thought it would make a great outing with my little grandsons one day. (I couldn’t see sign of any animals though, so don’t count on seeing sheep etc.)
At the entrance to the fields there’s a map showing you the various areas. And nearby a large sign listing where various crops could be found.
If you’re planning to go to the farm it’s worth checking their website for up-to-date information about what’s available. Currently (August) it tells you there are ‘limited strawberries’, ‘blackcurrant – finished’, ‘rhubarb – picking now’, ‘French beans – picking now’, and various other crops, while pumpkins and spinach aren’t ready yet.
I didn’t actually pick anything, although I was tempted. I decided it would be more fun to go back with the family another day. It’s definitely a fun place for families – and I plan to try some of that great looking meat in the farm shop. And come Christmas, you can even go there to dig our own Christmas tree and kids can take a walk through the Christmas Tree Forest and visit Father Christmas in his Log Cabin.