Looking for inspiration ahead of the festive season? Looking for presents for all the family, ideas for your Christmas dinner and decorations to make your tree stand out from the crowd? Orchard Park in Gillingham has Christmas wrapped up. Inside you will find locally sourced ingredients for your Christmas dinner, presents for everyone as well as Christmas trees and decorations to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Orchard Park is now in its 7th year. It was built on the Clarke family’s farmland, Lagan Farm as an outlet for their prize-winning rare breeds, joined with a well-stocked garden centre and restaurant.
Ron & Sheila Clarke of Lagan Farm have been rearing rare breeds of sheep and cattle for thirty years and are passionate supporters of traditional British breeds. When they moved to Park Farm in Gillingham in the eighties, Mr & Mrs Clarke set up the Rare Breeds Centre with a view to educating the public about Britain’s native breeds and farming activities. The Clarkes added other traditional breed such as Irish Moiled, Red Polls, Longhorns and Belted Galloways to their collection as well as a variety of sheep breeds and began selling their meat but in many ways, they were ahead of the times. ‘In those days rare breeds were very unconventional but we have always known that they produce the best meat.’ Since then, numbers of herds of rare breeds have increased all over Britain as farmers recognise the benefits of cattle that can thrive in an extensive system and the message about the quality of their meat is spreading to the consumer. Mr & Mrs Clarke now keep herds of Red Poll, British White and Irish Moiled, chosen for their tender, marbled and tasty meat. Mr & Mrs Clarke have been instrumental in championing these rare breeds and thanks to their work and others like them, the British White is no longer on the rare breed survival list. Mrs Clarke says, ‘meat produced slowly, from a grass fed animal is always going to taste better than one that is corn fed and finished in a fraction of the time.’
Lagan Farm Shop at Orchard Park, with its team of skilled butchers, is fast becoming a destination for people who value the meat they put on their table. Particularly as the Clarkes ensure that the other producers that stock their shelves share their ethos. The journey from field to shop is kept to a minimum to ensure the meat you serve at your table is of the highest quality. White or BronzeTurkeys from Dorset, succulent hams, duck and your Christmas goose are all available from the butchers together with Orchard Park’s homemade stuffing. Orders are being taken now but last date for ordering is 20th December. The Clarke’s work is really paying off with Lagan Farm recently triumphing in the Taste of Dorset Awards, with a win in the coveted ‘Best Meat Producer’ category. All the meat stocked in the farm shop can be bought fresh or frozen and Lagan’s team of experienced butchers also produce tasty sausages, burgers and faggots and delicious home made pies, pasties and sausage rolls. Why not top up your freezer in case of unexpected guests!!
Orchard Park is strongly aware of the importance of supporting local producers, so you will find some familiar names on their shelves including Fudges, Purbeck Icecream, Pink’s Organics, Dorset Cereals, Moore’s Biscuits, Stoate’s Flour, cakes by Lavender Blue, eggs from Blackacre Farm and coffee from Spicers in Wimborne, and those are just a few. The shelves are groaning with eye catching and tempting treats to stock your cupboards for Christmas. The farm shop is also well stocked with festive drinks from local brewers & producers. You will find beer from Keystone and Piddle breweries, Lyme Bay Wines, Burrow Hill Cider and various warming tipples from the Somerset Cider Brandy Company.
Bespoke Christmas hampers can be prepared – all you have to do is choose the contents and we will do the rest!
In the garden centre there is a huge choice of Christmas trees both natural and artificial and there are 3 varieties of non needle drop trees of fantastic shape and quality. There really is no excuse for a dowdy tree this year as in the Christmas shop you will find a wide selection of glittering decorations and sparkling lights along with garlands, Christmas stockings and candles. Complete your decorating with a gorgeous Christmas wreath for your front door!
Presents for all the family will be easy with gifts ideas for all the family and a treasure trove for the gardening enthusiast. Father Christmas himself will be at Orchard Park on 10th, 11th and 17th December so come along and say hello but in case you miss him we have our very own post box for Santa where Children (or grown up’s!) can send him that all important letter!
After all that shopping why not visit the Café where all kinds of festive treats including warming hot chocolates with all the trimmings, mince pies and homemade cakes are on offer daily and every Tuesday and Sunday throughout December a delicious 2 course Christmas lunch is being served.
Much of the fine food available in the farm shop is also served in the café, which caters for breakfasts, lunches and teas. Daily specials always include meat from Lagan Farm as well as fresh, sustainable fish from Brixham.
The floristry department is preparing beautiful Christmas bouquets to compliment your home or as a wonderful gift and a delivery service is available.
Come to Orchard Park for all your Christmas needs. Late Night Shopping is on Thursday 15th December.