Submitted by Kath Hope
Nationally-renowned Darts Farm, based just outside Exeter, is thrilled to have been named ‘Large Farm Shop of the Year’ at the Farm Retail Association Awards held on 1st March. Darts Farm is an innovative, family-run business, which was established in 1971 and has grown from humble beginnings to become the unique shopping experience it is today, with a string of prestigious awards to its name.
Michael Dart, who runs Darts Farm alongside his two brothers, James and Paul, comments: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this latest accolade from the Farm Retail Association Awards, which recognises the very best farm retailing businesses. We are so proud to have created an award-winning destination with our working farm at its heart. Our vision has always been to create a unique shopping experience that champions local food and drink, from our farm and other incredible, passionate artisans. To have built something that is nationally recognised is incredible, but to have built it on your family farm with your two brothers is unbeatable.”
James Dart continues: “The award is a reflection of all the hard work that our teams put into making the site such a unique, vibrant shopping experience. Everywhere you go at Darts, there are passionate people, people that love what they do; and that’s what makes us so special!”
The Farm Retail Awards recognises outstanding farm retailers. They are the only awards judged by fellow farm retailers and celebrate the best farm shops, farm cafés and restaurants, farmers’ markets and trade suppliers in the country. Judges said: “Darts Farm has the ‘wow factor’ as it offers a large range of produce without losing its focus or customer perception. The farm shop truly is a destination centre.”
From the pioneering ‘pick your own’ business set up in 1971 by the Dart brothers’ father, Ronald, Darts Farm has evolved to become a nationally acclaimed shopping experience. In addition to the huge range of local and artisan produce on offer in the shop, there is an incredible range of dining opportunities. Whether you want to choose from their extensive menu in the traditional Darts Farm restaurant; enjoy their iconic Ruby Red beef, dayboat fish and seasonal vegetables cooked over charcoal in the flagship restaurant, The Farm Table; indulge in waffles, homemade artisan gelato, bean to bar chocolate and wood fired pizzas in the Cow & Cacao café; or grab a take away from the Fish Shed or The Shack, there is something for everyone!
There is also an outdoor shop and a number of homeware departments. In addition, visitors can reconnect with nature by winding their way through the vegetable fields and nature trail, watching their herd of native Ruby Red Devon cattle graze on the banks of the River Clyst, wildlife spotting in the bird hide overlooking the wetlands or by visiting the animals in ‘animal corner’. The adventurous can hire a bike and discover the beautiful views the Exe Estuary has to offer. Darts Farm is a place where you can spend the whole day.
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