Award-winning farm, Low Sizergh Barn, which is located on the outskirts of Kendal, has just won the Farm Retailer of the Year award at the Cumbria Farmer Awards 2021. They’ve also topped the Guardian Readers’ tips on the best farm shops in the UK, and featured in the Times Top Ten UK Farm Shops list this summer.

THE farm shop is 30 this year and the Park family have farmed the land at Sizergh Farm for 40 years. Alison runs the farm shop, while her brother, Richard heads up the farm team of five, which also includes his son, Matthew.

Set in a 17th-century Westmorland stone barn, the farm shop showcases produce from the farm and organic salad leaves from on-site mental health charity, Growing Well. Its shelves are also home to the pick of Cumbria’s growers and makers and to artisan producers from farther afield.

You can even buy a litre of the herd’s fresh raw milk from the vending machine opposite the milking parlour, which really highlights the Park family’s farm to fork philosophy.

Alison said: “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.”

“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 frozen ready meals made from scratch in the kitchens. It meant family from away could call and order for us to deliver to local relatives when they couldn’t get there personally.

“With the café closed we decided to get creative with our outdoor takeaway area, adding seating when permitted, along with gazebos and tables and chairs. 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 people safe.”

With the café fully open again, you can head there for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or a brew and a slice of something nice. And, if you time your visit with milking (from 3.30pm daily), you can get a bird’s eye view of the cows in the parlour from the café’s gallery windows.

The option to eat outside remains too. The Shed is open Friday to Monday, from 9 am to 5 pm for excellent coffee, warm options, and ice cream made with milk from our cows. And if you would like to eat outside Tuesday to Thursday, you can order upstairs in the café and then enjoy table service outside. There is lots of outdoor seating, including a woodland area with a tunnel and dens for younger guests…or older one who still love to play. It’s a great option for outdoor ‘meets and eats’.

And there’s a two-mile farm trail, which winds down to the pond and through fields and ancient woodland. You might just spot some faeries in the woody area by the pond. Treat yourselves to a scoop of ice cream at the end of the walk. The Windermere Ice Cream Company send a tanker to collect milk from the farm, which they use to create their delicious ice cream flavours.

Alison concludes: “That’s just one of many relationships built up over years here, which make what we do so special. We are rooted in our community and couldn’t think of a better place to be.”