The owners of Duckaller Farm near Dawlish know how to get the morning started and their hearty breakfasts are proving very popular, writes Stacey Sheppard
When Roz and Keith Partridge opened up the barn on their 90-acre organic farm to hold a charity breakfast event, they had no idea that Breakfast in the Barn would go on to become a regular event. “We held our first Breakfast in the Barn in November 2009 to top up the sponsorship money that our son Ben was raising when supporting Whizz Kidz by running the Dublin marathon,” says Keith. “People who came were soon asking when the next breakfast would be, so we set some more dates and are now in our third season.”
The Breakfasts are now held on Sunday mornings from 9am-12 noon every three to four weeks from October until April. They are proving very popular with an average of about 120 people turning up at the farm for their share of a hearty morning feast. Even the wintry weather doesn’t keep people away. Keith says: “When it’s really cold, we have a wood burner roaring away to take the edge off the chill and people come suitably wrapped up. We had 70 brave souls turn up in December 2010 in the middle of last winter’s big freeze.”
People come from far and wide to sample the farm’s delicious produce and even now Keith and Roz are surprised by the turnout. “We get a good mix of people from all over the area,” says Keith. “Neighbours walk or cycle and get together to catch up, families and friends travel from as far as Taunton and Plymouth and meet in the middle.”
For Keith and Roz, Breakfast in the Barn provides the perfect opportunity to showcase what they produce on the farm, allowing visitors to sample the produce available to buy there. “We serve our own award-winning sausages and dry-cured bacon produced from our free-range Berkshire pigs, local free- range eggs, toast from the local bakery, baked beans, as well as tea, coffee, homemade cakes and apple juice,” explains Keith. If any of the tasty treats take your fancy then Ian, ‘the whistling butcher’, mans the meat counter throughout the morning selling fresh sausages, pork and gammon to recreate Breakfast in the Barn at home.
From 22-28 January the national Farmhouse Breakfast Week 2012 campaign is running, in order to raise awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and to promote the wealth of fantastic breakfast produce available around the country. Luckily for us here in Devon there is no shortage of great produce. “A good breakfast really does set you up for the day, whether it’s for a hard day’s physical work or even just for brain food,” says Keith. “I know I’m flagging by mid-morning if I haven’t had a good intake first thing.”
Duckaller Farm holds activities to make the morning fun for all the family. “There is plenty to see on the farm and we encourage people to have a wander around and see the pigs in the fields, the pond and the abundance of farmland birds that we are fortunate to have,” says Keith. “There is a permissive footpath around our site, which is open all year round and we organise guided walks with specific themes depending on the season. In June this year we combined a Breakfast with Open Farm Sunday, which presented an opportunity to showcase the farm as a whole – after all, there is still a commercial family working farm at the core of all that we do.”
As well as making great sausages and bacon, the Berkshire pigs reared here are also used for hog roasts served up at all manner of celebrations weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, house-warming parties, charity events and conferences, ranging from groups of 30 to 500. And the latest addition to the farm is a tea room serving drink, homemade cakes and light snacks. “Our aim is to make our farm truly open and accessible to as many as possible,” says Keith.
Visit the Duckaller Farm website for forthcoming dates of Breakfast in the Barn.
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