A bright, well-stocked farm shop with a loyal following.
Go there for: You can do your weekly shop here.
Avoid: Missing the delight of picking your own in summer.
Is it worth the calories?: Well-sourced fresh food – it’s worth it!
Tips: Try the café and garden centre across the road.
John Shinner bought Priory Farm in 1957 and its history maps the history of agriculture in the UK. First he raised sheep and grew barley, diversified into the new intensive chicken farming, was one of the first pick-your-own farms in the country, had pigs and gave them up to concentrate on the farm shop, café and garden centre.
Now run by his son, Priory Farm Shop sells their own soft fruit, beans, apples, plums and pumpkins. They augment this with produce from Secretts in Milford and also stock a great range of imported produce like bananas, pineapples and ginger. Prices are often cheaper than supermarkets for home-grown produce, everything is beautifully displayed, and you can help yourself to exactly the amount you want.
The cheese counter has been run by Sandra for the last 15 years and it’s a delight. There’s a good but not overwhelming selection of British cheeses, with an emphasis on local cheese producers like Norbury Blue and Lord of the Hundreds, an unpasteurised ewe’s milk cheese that has been compared to parmesan. And they keep the major continental cheeses you might expect to find. Everything is well kept and presented and you can sample anything you fancy.
The meat counter is similarly attractive. They sell mostly farm-assured meat. The pork comes from Scott’s farm in Storrington: their pigs are fed an additive-free diet and are free to roam and dig.
Assistant manager Julie has been there for 14 years and knows what her customers want and works closely with manager Will Edwards. They make a careful balance between quality and price and stock a really good selection of local products. So alongside a good range of local beers that ‘fly off the shelf’, she has Deerview jam from West Sussex, Crosbies cakes, Stas chocolates and St Joan’s farm ice-cream. They also stock a few well-know brands of cereals and washing powder so you can complete your weekly shop here. She says staff are very happy in their work and that shows in their knowledge and helpful attitude.
Priory Farm runs events throughout the year, including cookery demonstration, farm walks and children’s events. They have three fishing lakes, a plant centre, café, cook shop and craft shop. And let’s not forget Chalk Hills Bakery is based here. You can buy their wonderful bread in the shop and have a tart in the café. It’s one of the best-organised concerns around. We bumped into founder John by the cheese counter doing his weekly shop: he’s pleased his sons continue to develop the farm he bought with so much hope and expectation.
Tel 01737 822603