Ben & Ella's Farmshop


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Tucked into an old grain store in the Essex countryside, the Farrow & Ball-painted walls of this farm shop had barely dried before Baythorne End locals began flocking here in February. Top-quality bakes and a selection of environmentally-conscious products have made it the gourmet convenience store of choice on the Essex-Suffolk border.

Step inside the barn to find fresh sourdough, buttery croissants and rustic ciabattas made by owner Ben Clark (pastry chef alumni of London’s Michelin-starred The Square and Alimentum in Cambridge). Old English rye boules are bestsellers and truly represent the ethos of Ben and his partner Ella Smart. A tried-and-tested classic with a twist, the boules are made from a 62-year-old inherited sourdough starter, their sour tang tempered by the unexpected ingredient of black treacle.

Alongside rustic pallets of breads and pastries, expect to find regional produce galore. Wild boar salami from The New England Boar Company (reared 5km away), Cambridge Bilton jerky, Norfolk’s Yare Valley rapeseed oil and jars of kimchi from London’s Bottlebrush Ferments. Ben and Ella source 95 per cent of their produce from the UK and their focus on being environmentally friendly stretches to the cleaning products they stock and the tables salvaged from local antique shops.

At the cheese counter, you’ll find over 40 British products, from Baron Bigod Suffolk brie, to the Manchego-like East Sussex Lord of the Hundreds. On Wednesdays, early birds can catch Paul from The Grimsby Fish Co offering catches direct from his van. A must-try are the Scotch eggs (runny yolks, naturally) made by Rutland-based The Kitsch Hen.

Don’t be put off by the welcoming bark of deli dachshund Crunchie. He’s happy to make his own recommendations, including – what else? – marmalade from The Long Dog Company.

Front of Shop

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