The seeds of Applegarth Farm Shop were sown in 1976 when John and Stephanie Benson purchased a piece of land in Grayshott, Hampshire, to start growing a range of soft fruit and vegetables. Initially selling their produce from a barrow at the farm’s entrance, and in Covent Garden Market, the Benson’s steadily built up a pick-your-own business that thrived throughout the 1980s.
40 years on, Applegarth Farm Shop is now run by the Benson’s son Will, continues to grow, produce and sell exceptional quality foods. The ethos remains to offer something different to the faceless high street, focusing on home-produced foods, made with love, care and attention.
Today Applegarth employs over 30 people and has a thriving restaurant alongside the farm shop. Applegarth’s core aim is to supply the finest, locally-sourced foods possible. To this aim, the business has built up an extensive portfolio of foods that are made either on the premises or by small regional suppliers; all presented in a personal and distinctive location.
The power house of the farm shop is the four metre deli counter. This serves up some seriously good food, such as charcuterie. The rest of the shop is shelved with an enticing and well-chosen selection of produce. The emphasis is on artisan producers, like Goupie. As Will Benson says: “If you’re looking for mass produced, then don’t look here!”
All breads are either sourced from a small bakery three miles from Applegarth or baked on the premises. The range covers everything from a traditional farmhouse loaf to a dark twisted ciabatta with peppers.
Applegarth’s own farmhouse kitchen produces salads, tarts, quiches and sausage rolls. This range is supplemented by locally made scotch eggs and pork pies that are delivered fresh every week; as well as a good range of frozen produce including, ready meals, exceptional desserts and puddings.
From locally-sourced organic mayonnaise to own recipe pickles, Applegarth provides an exceptional range of condiments to set off any meal. Many of these products are sourced from local farmers markets and all are of excellent quality.
The farm shop also stocks a broad choice of cheeses both local, and from across the UK and continental Europe.
As well sourcing fruit and vegetables from local suppliers. Applegarth grows its own vegetables in a polytunnel. These are picked fresh throughout the year.
The restaurant is an integral part of the operation. It can accommodate 60 people in the winter and 120 in the summer with the outside terraced area. The head chef produces a range of exceptional foods both for the restaurant and for the deli counter. Given the nation’s rediscovered love of cakes and baking, Applegarth’s afternoon tea has become something of a local attraction, featuring proper sponge cakes and enticing pastries, all made in the kitchens.
Applegarth is also famed for its Sunday Roasts and its high quality evening catering. The restaurant is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea from 9am to 5pm, and is also open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, serving a selection of contemporary British dishes with a mediterranean twist. The restaurant has a restful, rustic charm with its wood burning stove and old farmhouse aesthetic.
Applegarth is a place that takes great pride in great food, and is equally focused on sharing and communicating this passion to each and every customer. Surely, a recipe for success!