I have to say finding an affordable corner shop where I can:
✔️Buy locally produced milk 🐄
✔️Great quality, locally grown 🍓🍎🍅🍌 and 🥦🥕🌽🥔
✔️🍞, 🥚 and other basics
Without starting an overdraft😥
…was a 💯 surprise!
But there it is on Commercial Street, Farm to Folk opposite The Bishop Blaze public house, and across from Devon Wildlife Trust, a breath of fresh air.
I shouldn’t have to be writing so enthusiastically about a shop that sells fresh, seasonal and local produce in a UK county that is largely agricultural but there it is. The options in Exeter city centre for the fresh, locally-sourced grocery staples that Farm to Folk sell are remarkably limited, and often (understandably I guess) sold at a premium that goes beyond the elasticity of my budget.
On my impromptu visit, I found Simon manning the counter at the recently opened store he runs with his agriculturalist business partner James. Their very newly opened shop is very much a lockdown success story, with Farm to Folk having served the locality with door to door fruit and veg delivered from their custom van throughout the period of national confinement. I am sure they have already got a great following.
The team have made themselves at home in a beautiful period property that has all the hallmarks and complementary frontage of a traditional grocers. Inside, the cast-iron staircase, Victorian tiles and fireplace add to the warm welcome you’ll receive. You can take as much time as you like to browse shelving and trestles that are piled high with assorted seasonal produce, which on the day I visited included Jerusalem artichokes, aubergines, leeks and peppers. If you are commuting via Exeter St Thomas or working locally, Farm to Folk is perfectly located for a latte and one of their freshly baked and buttery pastries. With globe artichokes and other goodies on the way, Farm to Fork is also must visit if you are on a city break and need to stock your self-catering or AirBnB.
Things I am liking so far about Farm to Folk.
I was impressed with the quality and freshness of all their produce. And what a relief it was to see fruit and veg outside of cellophane packaging, just waiting to be popped into a paper bag. Simon and James source as much of their produce, meat and eggs as possible from around Devon, meaning that what you buy here will live up to the name! The cut half of the giant aubergine I bought was still holding steady a week later in the back of my fridge.
A wide selection of edible plants is available to buy too. These aren’t the limp yellow stickered variety you get in the supermarket, Farm to Folk has some potent looking African basil, nasturtiums and thriving dill – perfect for perking up your window sill.
Free veg! Simon was emphatic that absolutely nothing in the store ends up in the bin. And I was happy to help the war effort by purchasing some heavily discounted bananas and mushrooms. A couple of sweetheart cabbages and some peppers also went home with me for free and held up well for a day or two longer until I used them.
Why I’ll return to Farm to Folk again and again.
I’d be motivated to return to grab a couple of pints of their locally sourced milk, some eggs and potatoes to stay stocked up mid-week. Their milk is currently coming from Cornwall but they have glass bottle milk from an independent dairy just outside Exeter coming soon.
I will want to try the upcoming hydroponic salad that they will be growing in-store on what appears to be a cut and come again basis. They will also be hiring out hydroponic kits so you can grow your salads at home even if you are garden free.
Where is Farm to Folk?
Their address is:
26 Commercial Road, Exeter, Devon EX2 4AB
What is Farm to Folks opening hours?
Monday to Saturday: 9 am to 6 pm
Sunday: 10 am to 4 pm