Shute Fruit and Produce in Bishopsteignton is celebrating fifteen years of business. David Lamboll took over from his father in the mid-90s and together with his wife Lori Reich, converted the original dairy farm into a pick your own.
David and Lori choose their fruit and vegetable carefully. The emphasis is always on flavour rather than shelf-life but there is always something to pick. The farm opens to the public in June when strawberries, potatoes and broad beans are at there best. The season runs to the end of October when the pumpkins and a variety of tasty squashes ripen.
“You can taste the difference in texture and sweetness by picking produce at its optimum ripeness,” explains Lori. “There is a natural rhythm to the growing season set by Mother Nature. For example in late August you can pick sweetcorn so fresh that it squeaks, or for the best autumn raspberries, come along in September”. The farm’s location, on the banks of the Teign Estuary, provides excellent growing conditions for the produce. “The deep red soil of the area adds it’s own flavour – you can see it in the potatoes” says Lori.
Lori and David care about the environment and work hard to work towards a sustainable farming system that encourages wildlife. You may be lucky enough to see a rare curl bunting during a visit. “We have been working closely with the RSPB to manage our habitat and provide winter food to support this vulnerable population,” explains Lori. Do your bit by helping them record sightings. She continues: “Supporting local businesses and reducing food miles begins at the farm gate. It is one easy step to help reduce your carbon emission by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables.
“Its fun down on the farm. Why not bring a kite or a picnic and enjoy local ice cream or our own elderflower cordial,” Lori says. It can be educational too. Lori is a popular speaker, giving talks about food and farming and cookery demonstrations. Have you ever tried a ever tried a crown prince (a pumpkin)? Do you know your pink fir apples from your charlottes (both potato varieties)? Ask for cooking advice and recipe booklets or sign up for a preserve-making course.
New this year is a murder mystery trail around Bishopsteignton. Make it a family day out with a visit to Shute Fruit followed by a walk around the village spotting clues to solve a mystery. The trial guide cost £5. En-route, visit the historic ruins of the Bishop’s Palace and Old Walls Vineyard. Enjoy a pint of locally brewed Red Rock Beer or a meal at the Cockhaven Manor. Truly something for everyone!
If picking your own doesn’t appeal you need not miss out. The farm has its own shop and Lori is keen to attend farmers’ markets with fresh produce from the farm picked that morning.
Lori sells her own award-winning preserves made with produce grown on the farm. Her Elderflower Cordial won a Taste of the West Gold Medal in 2009 and her Pandora strawberry jam won the coveted ‘Best of Preserves’ from Taste of the West. “It is a standing joke on the farm, he grows it, she preserves it.” laughs Lori.
Shute Fruit and Produce is open from June to October and closed on rainy days and Mondays. The website is updated daily for crop information so that you can visit at the time best suited to picking the fruit or vegetables you want, and recipes are also found online.