“I believe in simple, good food, which is the result of organic farming; it is better for us, our animals and the environment.” - Carole Bamford, founder of Daylesford Farm
A few weeks ago I spent my Saturday eating copious amounts of great food (nothing new there, but keep reading), in the midst of endless beautiful scenery (almost there...), soaking up that oh-so-rare British sunshine (there we go!) at the Daylesford Summer Festival 2015.
Daylesford is a farm up in the Cotswolds that has been growing produce organically for over 30 years. They're committed to good quality, sustainability and they are all about real food. It's also one hell of a beautiful farm. After the success of their first summer festival last year, they opened up their doors again this May to give food and farming lovers alike an inside look into their organic farming methods and a great summer's day out - which it sure was!
At the festival, there were so many great food stalls selling their products and offering free samples, both from within and outside Daylesford. We tried some delicious artisan cheeses - there was one herb and goats cheese mix that was incredible. There were also pies, pastries, cakes, jams, chutneys, breads, healthy breakfast mixes and so much more. The event was so beautifully styled and typically British, and those of you who know me will guess that I was in bunting heaven!
As well as being able to have a more hearty lunch at the Daylesford farmshop on the day, there were several trucks selling hot food around the grounds. There was also a big barbecue going on with some amazing looking burgers. We made the tough decision of passing up the incredible smell of those to go for one of the Dayleford trucks, which were serving some tasty Beef Brisket Wraps. Eating those, whilst enjoying our first glass of Pimm's of the year and listening to the live jazz band on the grass was the perfect way to kick start our British summer - and look how pretty the trucks were!
Daylesford isn't really your average farm. It's like its own little Cotswoldian world hidden away in the countryside. There is the market garden, the animals, the bakery, the creamery, and the kitchens, but there is also so much more. Daylesford's onsite farm shop, for example, sells all their organic produce to the public. Alongside it, they've got their café, where you can eat fresh and delicious food made using everything they grow. There's even a spa and boutique.
There is also the most beautiful cookery school holding courses all year around about how to "eat to be healthy". At the festival there were several demonstrations and events in the kitchen, including a special appearance from Madeleine Shaw who was signing her new book "Get The Glow".
BUT I've saved my favourite part until last... which is the fact that Daylesford rent out their own dreamy Cotswolds cottages. My jaw dropped walking into one of the show-cottages on the day of the festival - and yes, those idyllic photos down there show you what I'm talking about! There are several beautifully designed and cosy cottages of different sizes, sleeping from 2 to 8 people, that you can stay in for a mid-week or weekend country getaway. Some of them are on site next to the farm itself, and some are just down the road further into Kingham. I can't think of a better weekend than staying up there, booking in a few spa treatments, cooking up some food using Daylesford ingredients, and just switching off!
Aside from the festival, Daylesford is a great place to just go spend the day this summer. It's easy to get the train up from London Paddington, or drive through the beautiful British countryside if you fancy it. You could just go have a wander around the grounds, maybe try out the spa or a cookery course, have a bite to eat in the café, and breathe in some fresh country air. They also offer farm tours three times a year, and farm walks that you can just do yourself by picking up a map from the shop and following the signs.
If you'd rather stay a bit closer to home though, you can always try out one of the many Daylesford café's and farm shops around London. They've in fact just opened up a brand new one in Marylebone! The cafés serve delicious organic food using ingredients from back up at the Cotswolds for a nutritious breakfast, lunch, dinner, or simply afternoon tea and cake.
Whatever way you try it, make sure you have some sort of Daylesford experience this summer, and be sure to head to the Daylesford Summer Festival next year!