I was surprised at the dearth of traditional food producers in the Oxfordshire area. That’s not to say they were not there, of course, just that we didn’t find them.
Burford, the nearest town to our camp site, was beautiful and had a really good butcher and a local baker . . . . .
The first photo was taken late in the afternoon. A little earlier, it looked like this!
A main road runs straight through the town with lorries thundering past, pedestrians dodging across the road between cars and, even in early June, tourists from all over the world come to see the beautiful Cotswolds. Parking is a nightmare and, for someone walking with a stick (me), the crowds are just too much.
However all was not lost.
We found the Upton Smokery by accident. We were driving along the A40 just west of Burford and saw a small sign to ‘Smokery’.On an impulse, we turned along the B4425 road and came upon this gem of a shop with a smokery next door.
The Taster in Chief rushed out to the car to get a shopping bag and then, patiently, followed with a basket as I rampaged round the store. I couldn’t buy a lot as we are so short on fridge space in the caravan and, as for freezer capacity, well *rolls eyes*.
But I did get some nice tasters ~ some of which were consumed before I got round to photographing them. There was smoked salmon pate, a loaf of fresh bread, a pack of lovely Bruschetta and some local tomatoes.
My view of Chris and Vix Mills, the couple who run the smokery and shop, was confirmed as we chatted to Vix at the till.
I wanted some straight forward smoked salt. It was out of stock. Vix dived into the back, filled a jar for me and brought it out ~ smiling all the while, despite the fact that this was just a £1.95 item.
A real champion!
As a reward for being so patient, The TIC had a big piece of his favourite cheese, on condition that I got to share it.
Just on the edge of the picture is a pack of Cotswold Blue, described as a ‘Veined Brie’. That is made by Simon Weaver Cotswold Organic Dairy. This is one of a growing number of farms with a long history (Simon Weaver’s family have been farming at Kirkham Farm for 3 generations) who have been forced to diversify due to falling profits. That’s on our list for next time we are in the area.
Such producers rely on shops like The Upton Smokery to sell their wares. As we found at The Courtyard Dairy, where Andy is supporting really small producers, there is a market for good food ~ but the message is slow to get around.
If you are in the area, do call in and support these Real Food Champions!
It’s a matter of use ‘em or lose ‘em.