by Jane Watson
Seen as a local treasure in the South Lake District, Low Sizergh Barn is home to 170 strong herd of red, brown, black & white cows (cross breed of Holsteins, Swedish Red and Montbeliards) 700 hens, and a flock of 200 Swaledale and Mule sheep.
Low Sizergh Barn has been owned and operated by the Park family for 40 years, and their Farm Shop is in its 30th year. Set in a 17th-century Westmorland stone barn, the dairy farm shop showcases a host of produce from the farm and its organic vegetable business: Growing Well – a mental health charity, organic vegetable farm and training centre. Low Sizergh also stock produce from around the county’s growers and makers, and artisan food producers nationally.
Farm Shop interior
Alison Park told us: “We are so proud of the award for food retailer of the year as it shows just how hard our farm shop and café team have worked through really challenging times. The staff went above and beyond to ensure our customers still had access to wholesome food.”
Kendal Creamy Cheese
“At the start of the pandemic, we created a completely new service with phone shopping and collection or delivery, and online ordering. We also created a range of tasty ready meals made from scratch in the kitchens and suitable for the freezer so people could order, and we delivered to local relatives for them.
“With the café closed we decided to get creative with our outdoor takeaway area, adding seating when permitted, along with gazebos up tables & chairs, trying to meet community needs as local people have long used us as a meeting place, whether to enjoy a hearty Farmer’s Breakfast, lunchtime special, afternoon tea, or a chat over a brew and cake. We’ve tried hard to make that experience as normal as possible, whilst keeping folk safe.”
On the food front, the farm shop has always been about bringing local people together with the people who grow and produce their food. Their award-winning cheeses are made with the farm’s milk, and many of the vegetables and salad leaves sold are grown by on-site mental health charity, Growing Well who also operate a crop-share scheme for local people. Of course, many of these home-grown delights are used in the café, so you can taste them first-hand.
Make sure you are there in time for watching the cows being milked at 3.30pm daily through the gallery window of the café, and you can even buy a litre of the herd’s fresh raw milk from the vending machine opposite the milking parlour. It’s such an immediate connection and really highlights the farm to fork philosophy here.
Milking time at Low Sizergh Barn, viewing from the cafe
There’s a two-mile farm trail down to the pond, and through fields and ancient woodland, where you might just spot some faeries in the glade! Collect a ‘Faerie Doors’ tick list from the farm shop and look out for 12 faerie doors, showing plants and flowers that grow here.
As you head down to the pond, look out for some unusual little houses that have sprung up …. Maybe they belong to faeries or elves, or perhaps the shy, water-loving tizzie-whizzies who are sometimes seen near Lake Windermere? Then wander back to the Farm and treat yourselves to a scoop of ice cream, made with milk from the cows of course by Windermere Ice Cream company.
Farm Trail at Low Sizergh Barn
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