Today’s farm shop is in the quaint village of Prestbury with its handsome black and white half-timbered high street. It is now home to a number of swanky bars, restaurants, and little quirky shops including the very special Prestbury Farm Shop.
If you weren’t already aware, Prestbury Farm Shop is the creation of Debbie Stanley and her partner, Coronation Street star, Charlie Lawson (AKA Jim McDonald) who are passionate about locally produced food.
Stepping inside the Cheshire-brick fronted shop feels a little bit like entering the world of Jane Austen. You are transported to a time when we carried fresh produce home in a wicker basket, when ham was sliced in front of you and wrapped in paper instead of a encased in vast plastic cartons, and when we cared enough about the food we were buying to stop and find out more.
And care they do! The manager is a knowledgable, friendly and helpful lady, though not intrusive. She speaks with genuine passion and authority about the food that they stock. She says that the majority of their produce originates in the county and shows off the freshest looking selection of free range meats that arrived this morning. She also picks out some accompanying sauces, jams, pickles, and chutneys that are locally made and shows me a range of local fruit juices and cordials from just round the corner in Macclesfield. The nettle cordial is too tempting to resist and a bottle of dandelion cordial will doubtless be purchased next time.
But I’m keen to hear more about the butchery because meat and game is what they do best here. She obligingly answers all the questions I throw her way.
All the animals live out happy lives in the surrounding green fields, she tells me, even some of the game is shot locally. Their own butcher prepares the meats on site and makes up family favourites like sausages and bacon, plus more intricate pieces of meat. Local game is plucked and hung on site, and when the season gets going (1 October) it can usually be found adorning the front of the shop. I can’t take my eyes off the the enormous steak on the bone. Apparently it has been hung for 28 days for flavour, it looks fantastic and I’m told it is a local favourite, reared just round the corner in Mottram-Saint-Andrew.
There is also a very decent-looking shelf of craft beers, wine and spirits too, some locally produced. Plus the usual fresh farm eggs and veggies. And far too many other products to list – although the substantial-looking pies are worth a special mention.
Prestbury is very lucky to have this little gem, particularly as there is a large supermarket chain within a stone’s throw. It is clear evidence of the quality on offer here. But residents take heed, if you want to hold on to this quality grocer, next time you’re after a delicious steak don’t drive round the corner to the supermarket pop into your very own farm shop instead – that steak came from a field near you.
Prestbury Village SK10 4DG Phone: 01625 820035
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Photo credits: Prestbury Farm Shop