New farm shop and café opens in Hintlesham
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
The enterprising Bryce family (who founded Hintlesham’s Birch Farm), have today opened their newest business - a farm shop, with a café/restaurant, which they hope will be popular with both locals, and people using the A1071 to travel between Hadleigh, Ipswich and beyond.
It’s certainly been a family affair says owner Diana Bryce, who says her husband Richard built the farm shop from scratch at the Birch Farm site...while son Joe heads up the kitchen.
All of them, the wider family, and staff (including manager Casey Brown) can’t wait to show off the venture, Woodlands Farm Shop and Café, which is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.
“We moved here in 1989,” says Diana. “We opened the nursery in 1991. That was our first business, and it grew and grew. We sold the company in 2011 and had a few years off. But we’ve been here a long time – 33 years on the site. We’ve always said we wanted a farm shop and thought it would work well along this road. There’s not really anything else like it, and we’re great lovers of food and drink. Especially my son, our chef, Joe. He’s got lots of experience working at three rosette restaurants, on super yachts and in the ski season. He’s been all over the world, and will bring that knowledge to the café. The food will be elevated above what you might normally find in a farm shop.”
The café seats 24 inside, with 16 further spots being added on the terrace outside.
As much local produce as possible will be used in the kitchen, with breakfast, lunch and locally baked cakes available daily.
The launch menu includes morning dishes of a full English (with a vegan option), fluffy pancakes with banana and caramel, Mexican-style eggs, chia seed pudding and overnight oats.
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Lunches range from steak on sourdough crostini with caramelised onions, onion rings and chips, to falafels with hummus and mixed salad, and stone bass on roasted heritage tomatoes with rocket and homemade pesto.
The farm shop itself, says Diana, should have everything you need to put together a meal, or picnic.
“We want people to come to us on a daily basis and use us as their regular shop to get bread, pastries, fruit and vegetables, meat....fish. They can get pretty much everything here. And Joe’s going to be creating recipe cards as well, so people can pick one up, and walk around the shop, collecting all the ingredients they need to make the dishes.”
Diana has worked hard to ensure the offering at Woodlands is as fresh and local as possible.
Fruit and vegetables are sourced from a grocer in Ipswich and delivered every morning, with seasonal produce, such as asparagus, strawberries and apples coming from Suffolk farms when available. “You’ll definitely know what season it is when you come in,” Diana adds.
Bread and baked goods are coming from a bakery in Capel St Mary, meat from Innes Family Butcher in Hadleigh, who’ll be making bespoke marinades for the shop, and fresh lamb (and soon goat) is reared about 1.5 miles away.
Other local stockists include Hamish Johnston (cheese), Pinneys of Orford, Purely Pesto, The Greek Olive Company, Hillfarm Oil, The Little Fudge Company, Rafis and Scarlett & Mustard, with the shop selling the brand’s entire range of preserves and salad dressings.
The shelves will brim with essentials such as rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes, a variety of milks, tea, coffee and herbs.
And a variety of local beers, wines and spirits is available too – with more to come.
“Things will be added as we go along,” Diana explains. “We’ve got a lovely range now, but how we grow will all be down to what our customers want – what they ask for.
“We’re very excited to be open now. It’s been so much anticipation. We can’t wait to see people in here shopping and the kitchen up and running.”
Find out more at woodlandsfarmshop.co.uk