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

BBQ Season at Orchard Park

Top Tips from Orchard Park for the Perfect BBQ

To celebrate National BBQ Week 2017 (29th May – 4th June) we will have special offers on our range of Weber BBQs and accessories as well as in Lagan Farm Shop butchery.  To kick off BBQ season we have put together a guide on how to create the perfect BBQ!

Get the Right BBQ

This may seem like an obvious statement but having the right tools for the job is essential, which also applies to barbequing!  The debate over which is best, gas or charcoal, is a fierce one but with the help from Weber we hope we can help you decide.

It is recommended that you choose a BBQ which is best suited to your needs.  Charcoal BBQs add to the excitement and anticipation; setting out the coals, lighting them and then waiting until they are up to the perfect cooking temperature is what makes a perfect BBQ for some.  Others prefer the convenience and spontaneity of a gas BBQ as they offer the flexibility to just ‘fire it up’ whenever you like and start cooking almost immediately, adjusting the temperature with simply a twist of a dial.

Here at Orchard Park we have a great range of Weber BBQs (along with accessories) and are able to offer advice to help you choose the right BBQ for you.

Make Your Own BurgersLamb_Cooked_Burger

Our Lagan Farm Shop butchers have been busy making burgers, sausages (available gluten free), rump steak kebabs and chicken skewers as well as marinated sticky BBQ ribs all ready for the grill!  There is no doubt about it, homemade burgers are simply better! If you would like to give making your own a go, we have grass fed beef and lamb mince available from our own farm next door.  There are so many different flavour combinations to choose from achievable by simply adding different seasonings or fresh herbs.  Lamb burgers with freshly grown and picked mint from the garden and sweet chilli beef burgers are always a firm favourite.  Lagan Farm Shop also has a selection of chutneys, pickles, seasonings and sauces.

BBQs Aren’t Just Good For Meat

Contrary to popular belief BBQs aren’t just for the meat-eaters among us and can be used to create a variety of hearty vegetarian meals.  Pizzas, pasta dishes, flat breads and even cakes can all be cooked and baked on the BBQ by using some of the Weber accessories.  Take a look at some great recipes available from Weber, click HERE to open the link.

Finally, Set the Scene

This year make the most of your outdoor space and let your garden be an extension to your living area.  Here at Orchard Park we have a range of quality garden furniture from Cosy Bay and Alexander Rose, along with a range of decorative fencing, aggregates and stoneware, garden lighting, outbuildings and of course plants that can transform your garden into a space for entertaining and relaxing.

So what are you waiting for? Make the most of your summer and get grilling!


British Yorkshire Pudding Day!

British Yorkshire Pudding Day is celebrated annually on the first Sunday of February.  Traditionally Yorkshire puddings were made in one larger tin that was divided into portions rather than the smaller puddings we know and love today!  They were originally served before the main meal to fill empty stomachs to reduce the amount of meat needed especially during harder times.  Roast beef is the meal that Yorkshire puddings are known to accompany but they are delicious whatever they are served with!

Finding the right Yorkshire pudding recipe can be a challenge as oven temperatures, electric or fan assisted and dietary requirements are all factors.  We have everything you’ll need to make your own Yorkshire puddings here at Lagan Farm Shop (including some delicious Irish Moiled topside and brisket roasting joints from our very own farm next door!) as well as our favourite recipe from Jamie Oliver:


  • vegetable oil
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 100 ml milk
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 225°C/425°F/gas 9. Get yourself a cupcake tin and add a tiny splash of vegetable oil into each of the 12 compartments. Pop into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes so the oil gets really hot.
  2. While the oil is in the oven, beat the eggs, flour, milk and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a jug until light and smooth.
  3. Carefully remove the tray from the oven, then confidently pour the batter evenly into the compartments. Pop the tray back in the oven to cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until risen and golden.

Apple Day at Orchard Park

What is Apple Day?

Apple day is a celebration of the English apple and the orchard held annually in October. It is a day, or few days, to recognise the diversity of apples in the United Kingdom and was first started in 1990 by a local arts and environmental charity, Common Ground and launched in Covent Garden market.  The following year in 1991 apple day was launched Nationwide with over 50 events ranging from village hall markets to larger apple roadshows.  Apple day has been celebrated every year since and has grown from a small local event to a nationwide celebration of the humble apple.



Apple facts

  • Apples float in water because 25% of their volume is air
  • In Ancient Greece tossing an apple to a girl was a proposal of marriage and catching it was a response of ‘yes’
  • There are more than 8,000 varieties of apples – the largest variety of fruit to exist
  • It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider
  • To prevent apples turning brown once sliced add a few squeezes of lemon juice or lime juice.


Orchard Café Apple Scone Recipe

600g Stoates Self Raising Flour (plus a small amount for dusting/ rolling out the dough)

500g approx. Bramley Apples Diced (a sweeter apple can be used if preferred)

3 Free Range Eggs

125ml Buttermilk

125ml Milk

80g Butter

50g Caster Sugar

1 Free Range Egg (for glazing)


  1. Heat the oven to 160*c for fan assisted ovens or 180*c/gas mark 4.
  2. Rub the butter and the flour together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs then add the caster sugar. Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and gradually add the eggs and milk.  Add the diced apple and mix until a dough has formed.
  3. Scatter some of the flour put aside for dusting onto the work surface and tip the dough out onto it.  Sprinkle some more flour onto the dough and your hands and knead very lightly before patting/rolling the dough till it is about 2cm thick.
  4. Cut out 12 scones and place on a baking tray.  Brush tops with beaten egg and cook in the oven for 12 minutes until lightly browned and risen.  Serve with butter and enjoy.


Late spring: May at Orchard Park

Garden Planting this May

So far, so good! Spring in North Dorset has been kind to us all, gardeners and outdoor lovers alike. The weather was a bit on the cold side at first but has stayed relatively dry and is warming up nicely with no serious frosts to spoil plants.

You’ll have noticed that blossom has been absolutely glorious this year. Cherries started off with the early flowering Myrobolan, then the purple-leafed sand cherries before the more ornamental Japanese cherries started their display. Not to mention the magnolias and the ornamental pears!

At the time of writing, all looks well and we are hoping that the pear trees blossom will escape harm from frost along with the plums and bush fruit, especially gooseberries and blackcurrants. That would mean a substantial fruit crop later in the year, so it would be worth investing in a little protection, such as a fruit cage, to keep the birds off.

Our Dorset Farm Shop

We had a lovely visit from the reception class at St Mary the Virgin CE VA Primary School in April. Following their current theme, ‘On the farm’, they enjoyed a veggie workshop, tour of the farm shop and a sausage making demonstration from our butchers Chalky and Phil!

Regulars to the farm shop will have noticed some tasty new treats on the shelves, including these, quite frankly, marvellous Honeycomb Dips from Mighty Fine Chocolate.

If the words ‘Honeycomb’, ‘dipped’ and ‘chocolate’ haven’t already grabbed your attention and you’re a little more visual, check out how delicious they LOOK here!

Stylish Garden Entertaining

With the Bank Holiday looming, have you thought about how to get your garden set for the summer? If the thought of getting prepared leaves you trembling at the knees, never fear! We have the perfect guide to getting your garden summer ready.

We have wonderful ranges in store to really give your garden the magic touch, whether you’re looking for a reliable Weber BBQ with innovative accessories or a sturdy yet stylish Alexander Rose dining set, we can suit any budget.

Dorset Events

We’re counting down the days until Weber join us for an unmissable opportunity to see their 2 hour live cooking show, with fantastic barbecue recipe demos and tastings! The shop will be open afterwards for you to shop if you wish, and ticket holders will get a special discount on Weber products on the evening. Click here to read more about this event.

Job Vacancies at Orchard Park

Would you like to join our friendly, hard-working team? We’re on the look out for brilliant people to join our cafe and office. Come and take a look at the positions we have available!

April at Orchard Park

Everyone writes of the joys of spring but it is truly undeniable and such a relief after the winter months. The equinox is behind us and the daylight hours have begun to exceed the night which means we can look forward to some great growing weather!

Our weather is predictably unpredictable; the first 24 hours of April have already delivered strong winds, heavy rain and glorious sunshine! You’ll notice our team working in the garden centre wearing anything from a heavy jacket, fleece and gloves to short-sleeved polo tops and gilets!

Don’t forget we have post a regular gardening month-by-month blog to help you plan your jobs.

Garden Plants

It’s a fantastic time of year for plant growth! The soil is moist and early flowering shrubs, fruit trees and bushes will produce flowers before leaves. Bulbs and early flowering perennials are taking advantage of the space before it becomes occupied by summer flowering plants. These spring flowerers are something special as they really have to try hard to attract the early insects if they want to get their pollen spread about.

Something different to see every day makes spring the most exciting of seasons!

Garden Centre Plants for sale

Anything in a pot can be bought and planted throughout the year, as long as you are ready to water it! You’ll start to see more bedding plants around the garden centre during this month, and we’ve hit grow your own season! Whether you’re looking to grow fruit and vegetables from seeds or small plants, we should have what you’re looking for.

Herbaceous perennials such as geraniums, hollyhocks and delphiniums are in season now and will live from year to year. We’ve also got some lovely big shrubs such as rhododendrons, cytisus and prunus for a big, showy effect in your garden!

Meat Boxes, Dorset

Exciting news from the farm shop this month as meat boxes have landed in Gillingham! You can now become the proud owner of a box bursting with the tastiest, freshest, most local meat in town, hand-selected and prepared by our very own skilled team of “proper” butchers! We will even deliver for free to the local area.


Flowers online, Dorset

Cut out the middle man and order flowers directly from our brand new online flower shop! We can make beautiful flower arrangements for any occasion and deliver them to the local area.


Msaada, What a difference a cow makes

Orchard Park Garden Centre have joined forces with Gillingham based charity Msaada and local actress, Pippa Haywood  in a ground breaking artistic project to help transform the life of a family in Rwanda with an innovative art project to raise money to buy a high yielding in-calf dairy heifer to and send it to an impoverished family in Rwanda.

Pippa, whose recent work includes Prisoners Wives and ‘Greenwing’, was delighted when she was asked to participate in this event.  “What’s so great about this idea is that it is a team effort.  Our town can come together and offer support to a Rwandan family who have suffered such appalling terror and hardship.  What is so inspiring about Msaada it that is isn’t just a charitable hand out but a really constructive offer to enable a family to become self-sufficient and the benefits will ripple through the whole community.  What better way to spend the summer holidays than by families being involved in such a fantastic project!!”

‘The Orchard Park Msaada Big Picture’ aims to get 150 people from the Gillingham and Shaftesbury area to paint one of 150 panels of a larger painting (see illustration with this article) that will combine to create a massive 15 x 10ft artwork and on Saturday 22 September a fun day of activities, painting, music, delicious food and fund raising will be held at Orchard Park and culminate with the unveiling of the completed ‘big picture’ which will be permanently displayed at Orchard Park.

Each participant will be asked to pay £20 (or seek sponsorship for a greater amount) to help buy the dairy cow.  Behind some of the panels will be sponsored prizes for lucky artists whose panel number is selected on the day, after the painting is assembled.   Each participant will receive a ‘Big Picture kit’ which consists of a copy of one of the panels in the main painting, a wooden panel/board on which to paint and a set of paints and brushes.

Kits can be paid for and collected at Orchard Park Garden Centre or Msaada, 9 Leddington Way, Gillingham SP8 4FF and the completed panel must be returned to Orchard Park by Saturday 15th September.  The painting is based on an original called ‘Goodlife’ by artisit Kate Chidley, who has kindly allowed Msaada to use her work for the project.

Msaada was established in the Blackmore Vale area in 2005 to help Rwandans in the east of the country rebuild their lives following the catastrophic 1994 genocide, through self-sustainable development projects and education.   One of the most sustainable and profitable Third World activities is a well-managed and monitored dairy livestock program and with this in mind Msaada are working hard to raise public awareness and funds for this project.

Msaada director, Bill Kelly said “there are very few projects that provide such a level of empowerment and independence to individual families as dairy cows, there is a dramatic transformation from abject poverty to relative comfort and self-reliance.  Each family that receives an animal must pass on a gift of its first-born female calf to another needy family, who will do likewise in their turn, and so the gift grows”. Those chosen to receive the cows will be selected by their need and capacity, not ethnic, religious or political considerations.  Income from the milk the cow produces will allow the family to take control of their own lives, for example the income may be used to send their children to school as well as paying for the other necessities of life and Biogas from the cow’s manure will provide fuel for cooking.

Orchard Park Managing Director Richard Cumming said “we are delighted to be supporting Msaada in this exciting and worthy project.  We hope that with the support of local residents, customers and friends the event will raise the £2,500 needed to buy and airlift the cow to Rwanda and to pay for training in animal husbandry, veterinary support and monitoring for 3 years to ensure the family gets the full benefit of their gift.  We would encourage all families to join in the painting fun and the completed picture will be a lasting legacy of the generosity of supporters”.

Orchard Park wins Best Meat Producer for Lagan Farm Shop

Lagan Farm has triumphed in the Taste of Dorset Awards with a win in the coveted ‘Best Meat Producer’ category. Lagan Farm Shop has been selling rare breed beef and lamb produced on neighbouring farmland for over 20 years and the award is a great accolade for the farmers, rare breed champions Ron and Sheila Clark. Mrs Clark is thrilled with the award because it shows a public vote of confidence in meat produced slowly in a traditional, non-intensive way. ‘People are starting to realise that good quality meat doesn’t come from the supermarkets but the independents and Britain’s rare breeds are gaining the recognition they deserve for the exceptional quality of their meat.’


The Lagan Farm Shop at Orchard Park, just outside Gillingham on the B3081 Shaftesbury Road, is a real destination for people who value the meat they put on their table. The shop has a team of skilled butchers who are passionate about the produce and only too pleased to share their expertise and advice with the customer.

It didn’t stop there because Orchard Park have also been spreading the word about the value of producing your own vegetables; the allotments at Orchard Park were runners up in the ‘Grow your Own’ category of the Taste of Dorset Awards.

Orchard Park Press Release 6th September 2011
All photographs courtesy of Blackmore Vale Magazine/Ian Sumner

Latest from the Farm Shop – July 2010

Taste Dorset and the South West at Orchard Park !

At last the fine weather is here and with it a cornucopia of Dorsetshire delights. From Child Okeford we have the most delicious young spinach, fresh garlic, baby cucumbers, mange-tout peas, broad beans, beetroot and lettuces. With Wimbledon comes strawberries and we have the privilege of bringing you the freshest fruit from the Ansty PYO and Farm Shop – strawberries and gooseberries are now in stock. We also have the last of the English asparagus from the New Forest. True to our motto of “fresh, seasonal and local” we hope you like what you see.

Read More

Latest from the Farm Shop – May 2010

Last month I said that I would have some news for you on wines and sherries. A technical hitch has put this on hold, but with a following wind we should have something for you in June. New this month will be a range of fruits, nuts and snacks from Julian Graves, who you may know from their shop in Shaftesbury (and elsewhere). We also now have a really DELICIOUS range of ice creams from Purbeck Ice Cream. If you don’t do anything else new this spring, I urge you to try these quite exceptional delights. We have all the usual flavours plus one or two surprises – Mango Sorbet, Honeycombe Hash and even ChilliRed – yes, chilli ice cream. We also sell them in the café in 125ml tubs for £1:40, so you can try the smaller sizes before splashing out on a half-litre tub (£3:95).

We have been attending the Anonymous Travelling Markets in Shaftesbury Cattle Market on the last Saturday of every month, so come and see us on Saturday May 29th when we’ll be selling burgers and sausages, meat, cheese and eggs.

Orchard Park Garden Centre, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 5JG
Tel:01747 835544
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