Words by Michael Dart
We are so lucky to live here in Devon. The fertile valleys, mild climate, rolling hills, plentiful hedgerows and two coasts make it a region where we can grow, rear and catch the most amazing array of local produce.
Here at Darts Farm, we are advocates of eating with the seasons, something that has been at the core of our business since our father, Ronald, started a pick-your-own hut in the 1970s. It’s amazing when you look back and reflect at how we’ve evolved over the years. We are proud to say that we have been leading the way, championing sustainability with the understanding that supporting local producers is the best way of doing this, from the very beginning.
Our vegetables are handpicked from the fields each morning and travel mere metres to our farm shop; still damp with dew, no food miles, no unnecessary packaging. Our herd of Ruby Red Devon cattle graze the marshes, encouraging biodiversity and locking carbon into the soil. On our vineyard, our wines are produced to reflect the growing season. It’s simple really, we are not striving to achieve a standardised taste, we are just striving for amazing quality, real food and flavour.
What we cannot grow or rear ourselves, we source from our vibrant community of trusted family farmers, growers and artisan food producers who share our value for real food. All of this means that we get to enjoy the best flavours and great value, along with environmental benefits such as no plastic packaging, lower carbon footprint, conserving resources and preservation of local ecosystems.
In a world where globalisation and supermarkets have made vegetables, meat and other produce boring, tasteless and unsustainable, we should all be looking to increase our appetite for seasonal eating. Not only do we get to enjoy amazing fresh flavour and quality, but when our plates align with what is naturally in abundance, we get to enjoy unbeatable value. We believe our model is much more sustainable, and with the addition of a few artisanal treats crafted by small-scale, family businesses, helps to create a vibrant local community and produces better tasting food with less waste.
Michael Dart is a founder of Darts Farm alongside his brothers James and Paul. Darts Farm is a unique farm shopping experience, with a working farm and food hall at the heart, surrounded by amazing eateries and home, lifestyle and outdoor departments.