North Dorset’s leading Garden Centre with Florist, Café and award-winning Farm Shop
Tel: 01747 835544

Well – Is Local Better? Here’s what the locals had to say….


This was the question of everyone’s lips last Thursday at Orchard Park, when their New Year events programme started with a fascinating evening of food, drink and debate.

Richard Cumming Managing Director of Orchard Park said “We wanted to offer our customers the opportunity to explore the issue and to show how local producers and local supermarkets need to work together.  This was illustrated by the menu we planned for the evening – which was a compliment of locally produced, locally sourced and not so local food and drink”.

On arrival guests were welcomed with a glass of vintage Cava which was kindly donated by Jamie Charrington-MacKenzie of Hicks & Don wine merchants,  or a glass of beer from the Keystone Brewery, then the panel of experts chaired by BVM editor Fanny Charles answered a series of questions from the audience that covered issues as diverse as how many people actually buy their weekly groceries from local producers and there was even a question close to Orchard Park’s heart when  the question “why more farmers do not rear traditional breeds if the meat is so superior?” fortunately Sheila Clarke of Lagan Farm was on hand and responded that ‘there has been an age of specialisation in Holstein cattle which produce a huge amount of milk, and Belgian Blues who produce large quantities of meat, however this is now changing with animals performing well on what the farmer can produce in a sustainable way with a move away from importing products such as soya and in turn reducing carbon footprint”

The illustrious panel included Charles Dowding a commercial vegetable grower and passionate campaigner for local produce, Jason Payne Manager of Asda, Gillingham, Charlie Turnbull of Turnbulls Deli and Shaftesbury Feastival, Jim Highnam MD of BV Dairy and Alasdair Large of Keystone Brewery.  All were delighted by the high standard of the questions asked and were certainly kept on their toes by the knowledgeable audience.

During the evening a carefully planned menu  was served including a delicious antipasti of olives from Olives Et Al, cheese from Longmans Dairy and Godminster  and award winning chutney from ‘Dorset with love’ . Anya of Orchard Park made blini’s which were topped with Mere smoked trout terrine.  Shaun Carthy, chef at OP made a mouth watering soup of Celeriac, spinach and horseradish which was followed by fillet of Irish Moiled beef from Lagan Farm with lentil du puy, prepared by Callum Keir of Holbrook House who, in the interval, gave a short cooking demonstration.  After a second round of questions, a not so local dessert was served of exotic fruits supplied by Asda which was complimented perfectly with a good serving of local clotted cream from BV dairy.

Mr Cumming said “We were overwhelmed by the interest in the evening and we have had some wonderful feedback from audience members and the panel and we hope that this will the first of many such events here at Orchard Park.

In fact Orchard Park have already planned a Gardeners Question Time on March 28th, please visit  or call 01747 835544 for further details

Fillet of Red Poll Beef with Lentil Du Puy

Fillet of Red Poll Beef with Lentil Du Puy

– Serves 4 people


4 x 6-8oz Fillets of Beef
3-4 spoonfuls of Oil
150g of Lentil Du Puy
2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1 Carrot
½ Celeriac
1 Leek
2 Celery Sticks
30g of Pancetta or Smoked Bacon
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
Salt & Pepper
Knob of Butter
Optional – Gratin, Fondant or Roast Potatoes, Red Wine Sauce


  • Cook the Lentils in boiling water with 1 Garlic Clove, 1 Sprig of Thyme, and 1 Bay Leaf until soft, which should take approximately 10-15 minutes, then strain.
  • Cut the Carrot, Celeriac, Celery & Leek into Cubes, and the Pancetta into Lardons.
  • Season the Beef Fillets with Salt, heat a heavy based non stick frying pan until hot, brown each side of the Beef for 3-5 minutes, add a little Butter and rest.
  • Heat a Saucepan and sauté the Pancetta, then the Lentils. Add a little Garlic and picked Thyme. Season well and cook until lightly browned.
  • Spoon the Lentils into the centre of a plate and place the Fillets on top of the Lentils.  Serve with either Gratin, Fondant or Roast Potatoes and Red Wine Sauce as an optional extra.


Question Time – have your say, is local best?

Orchard Park Question Time.

There has been huge interest in the forthcoming Question Time event being held at Orchard Park on Thursday 26th Jan at 7pm, and now that details of the menu have been published, there is going to be a lot more!!

Orchard Park’s own chef Shaun and guest chef Callum Keir of Holbrook House have been busy planning a delicious tasting menu for guests to enjoy throughout the evening as they battle with the question “Is local better”!

First there will a chance to try some olives by Olives Et Al, a local cheddar from Godminster organic, and a blue cheese from Longmans Dairy all set to get the taste buds buzzing!  Winter root vegetable soup follows as the questioning debate gets under way.

During the interval Callum will give a short cooking demonstration using Lagan Farm’s own Red Poll beef; he will be preparing Fillet of Red Poll Beef with Lentil Du Puy and this delicious dish will then be served to guests.

After the second session of questions the evening will end with a delicious selection of exotic fruits supplied by Asda and served with BV Dairy clotted cream as guests chat with members of the panel.

Local brewer Alastair Large of Keystone Brewery will be offering samples of his locally produced ales and Jamie Mackenzie-Charrington from Wine Merchants Hicks & Don will show how French wines can complement both local and international dishes!

The evening promises to be a perfect blend of the local and not so local, come along and join the debate, tickets are £12 each or 2 for £20 to include the complete tasting menu and a soft drink.

Tickets are available from Orchard Park, Turnbulls Deli and Shaftesbury TIC.

For more details please contact Jilly at Orchard Park on 01747 835544

January Plant of the Month – Hamamelis (Witch Hazel)

Hamamelis (Witch Hazel)

The Witch Hazels are deciduous shrubs (and sometimes trees) growing to approximately 3 – 6 metres.

The botanical name means ‘together with fruit’; its fruit, flowers and next year’s leaf buds all appear on the branch simultaneously.

These are very popular ornamental plants, grown for their clusters of rich yellow to orange-red flowers which begin to expand in the autumn as (or slightly before) the leaves fall, and continue throughout the winter, thus making it a favorite to brighten up beds that can often be dull during the winter period.
They are best grown in a slightly acid soil & prefer a good humus-rich, fertile soil which is moist but well drained. Provide regular water during summer dry spells.
They can also be grown in pots but will need a bit of care if you choose to grow them this way as they must have a cool root-run in summer. Re-pot them regularly and move to a place out of hot sunshine in summer when they are not in flower.
They don’t generally require pruning, but it might occasionally be necessary to remove dead or dying wood. It is possible to prune them after flowering but is not advisable because the wounds do not heal readily and the natural grace of the shrub can be lost.
Witch Hazel is also known for it’s medicinal uses; the bark and leaf being astringent, the extract (also referred to as witch hazel) is used in aftershave lotions and lotions treating bruises, insect bites, eczema and acne.

Here at Orchard Park we have a good variety of this most versatile and pleasing shrub.

Orchard Park Garden Centre, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 5JG
Tel:01747 835544
© 2013-2015 Orchard Park Garden Centre
Site designed by The Graphic Edge
Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Delivery Terms | FAQ & Returns Policy