There was an Abel and Cole rep doing some door to door salesmanship last week, and when I said we were signed up to Farm Direct instead, he hung his head and said "a lot of people have said that".
The venison was a triumph, slow-roasted on a bed of carrot, onion, fennel and rosemary in a generous pool of red wine and stock - was melt-in-the-mouth and much appreciated by the diners.
The celeriac was wonderfully fresh and fragrant and the purple sprout tops added colour and texture to the meal.
Wow! Two of us independently declared this evening that your Essex sweet corn was the most delicious we had ever eaten - and both independently found ourselves eating much of it with NO butter - unheard of! Though of course it was also amazingly wonderful with some of the Jersey salted butter and a bit of black pepper. Please pass on our compliments to the growers, and to yourselves for getting us it this fresh.
The very best 'thing' over Easter has been the fresh fish. Having watched your video about the Cornish fishermen,I went on Thursday (before Good Friday) and got fish that had been swimming around earlier that day and bound for the sushi restaurants in the city. The freshest monkfish ever.Really amazing. So being able to pop into your depot as soon as the fish arrives is brilliant.Just like the seaside.
I picked up a small haunch of venison from the depot. We had it last night and it was absolutely delicious. I just roasted it on a rack, brushed with oil, garlic and oregano, and the juices made wonderful gravy. Would definitely go for that again!
Dear Farm Direct,
This is to thank you for your excellent service and superb turkey. The Free Range Kelly Bronze Essex Turkey was the most succulent and tasty we've ever had.
In today's retail environment, it was really touching and very much appreciated to be dealing with you and your business; your personal touches and attentions did not go un-noticed and I've been singing your praises to friends and neighbours alike.
I've been buying produce from your shop in the alley on Ronald's Road for a while now: I saw you one morning while picking up croissants across the road, and it's quickly become a happy habit on the odd Saturday morning. Finding out that you deliver was like a Christmas present.
I look forward to using your services many times in the future. The produce was all very beautiful. We had a big family dinner on Sunday night to sample many of the items I'd bought and the praises rang high and loud from my hungry guests. I can't wait to order my next Mixed Veg box next week and see what's in it. My husband recently surprised me with Hugh Faernley-Whittingstall's new Veg book and we're using it to tell us what to do with the abundance or turnips and carrots so forth we received.
Thank you for existing; you make our lives better.
The Salmon that I received on Friday was the best I have ever tasted
We love your fish: that it is fresh, local, and that it is just what you caught in the sea that day. We do not by any means require a massive selection and would like to eat fish that is both sustainable and fresh. If that means learning a few new recipes, that can be fun too. We had Nurse Hound(By-catch we understand) last week and it made one of the best fish curries we have ever had. Let us know if we can be helpful customers in terms of encouraging sustainable fishery practices. We understand you had to throw back 300kg of cod last week which sounded awful. If it makes more sense to fish for something other than white fish, please do so! We will be happy to try and cook it. Thanks also for the recipe.
On other products, the apple tart was surprisingly good. I'm half French and picky about my tarts and yours made the grade (lots of butter!). We will be ordering it again. The veg box is nearly gone, and we appreciated the variety and quality. We will be trying your cheese offering next.
All in all, we love the service, that we can pick up or that you can deliver. And we love the model that the food is fresh and seasonal. We also like hearing where the food is from.
I love Farm Direct & the fantastic quality, choice & value.I just wish I'd started using it sooner!
I know I ordered late and I actually thought you wouldn't be able to do it so it was a lovely surprise and thanks for the great service! Happy Birthday too and thanks for the apple tart. It was lovely! We were away all summer so its nice to come back to great produce. I think you have a really good concept and I ll certainly be ordering regularly, although we do go to the Farmer's market at Alexandra Palace on a Sunday too.
We have a company where great service is our priority so once again I really appreciate the service you give. I hope your company succeeds and will always be a regular customer!
Hello Farmers and Helpers!
Just received my Veg box! It's super great and every week it gets
better and more exciting. Really great thing you got working and very
very impressed and happy with the service.
Brendan, E8, Jul 2011
Forget that parsley – and those miserable little chard shoots which failed to grow into anything remotely edible… I no longer need them! I have just discovered Farm Direct, a delivery service in Islington which collects produce from local (max. 70 miles from London) farms and delivers to your door. Well, no big deal, you might say – there are loads of such services around. And no doubt there are but, to my shame, this is the first time I have actually used one – although, in fact, on this occasion I went to their little warehouse in Islington to buy and collect rather than be delivered to. The principle is, of course, impeccable. The produce comes straight from the farm – minimum food miles, maximum freshness and fewest possible intermediaries between farmer and customer. What impressed me was the quality and originality of the products.
For £35ish I bought several bags of curly kale (for the new Vitamix smoothie maker…), wonderful baby fennel, beetroot with greens, fresh gooseberries, tomatoes (and I mean ‘real’ tomatoes with taste…), tender young broad beans, to-die-for young snow peas, apples, three home-made pork pies, bacon, purple spring onions, cabbages, sea purslane (a sort of flat leaved cousin to samphire) and an enough-to-feed-three pack of monkfish liver, for a mere mouthful of which I would paid £35 in Japan or New York!
The monkfish liver awaits me tonight but we have already gobbled up the snow peas, two pork pies, several tomatoes (served with the fresh fennel fronds and the purple spring onions) and the snow peas. And now I just cannot wait to go onto the Farm Direct website and see what might be available next week – especially since, on the website I will be able to see which farm the products will come from and read all about that producer.
Grow your own veg? Nah! I’ll stick to flowers and let those guys who have come to such a productive accommodation with vegetables grow them for me….
Hi Robert and the team
I just wanted to say how gorgeous the strawberries were - sweet and absolutely full of flavour. The broad beans and peas were particularly delicious too - so fresh.
Sue, Highbury, May 2011
I am utterly delighted with the orders I have received so far from Farm Direct. You offer a fantastic range of products and I am certain you cannot be beaten in terms of flavour and freshness. Even when my meal planning goes a bit awry and I end up finding week old chard in the bottom of my fridge it still tastes as good as if it had just been harvested. I have never bought vegetables from anyone before that compare so well to what I grow myself and we have wolfed down every scrap of the meat and fish we've bought from you - all of which has been wonderfully full flavoured, tender and perfectly delicious. The chicken we ordered from you last week was superb and provided us with three meals. I am astonished that you are able to provide such a wonderful service and at such competitive prices. Long may it continue!
My baby is now two months old (our first baby). I started using your website soon after his birth and, since our first order, I have been recommending you left, right and centre to all the new Mums I meet. I will be weaning him in a few months' time and he's going to get lots of delicious seasonal goodies thanks to Farm Direct. Your service also means I don't have to haul him around the supermarket (which, like all discerning young infants, invariably make him cry). And I can buy all our food for the week from you, something I always struggled to do at the farmers' market due to their high prices, limited range and hit and miss quality. Thank you! And please let me know if there's anything more I can do to help support what you're doing.
Helen Beazer, Angel, May 2011
Just to say that we had an entirely Farm Direct dinner on Sunday night, the rump steak was a wonderful flavour, the chard delicious, we had the spinach to which we added pinenuts raisins and anchovies, as well as the mixed organic bag of leaves with yellow and red plum tomatoes!
Everything was really really delicious, tasty and fresh,
Louise Lovell, Holloway. May 2011
I am completely overwhelmed by your kindness in sending my cornucopia of delicious goodies this morning. I am absolutely thrilled and love your choice - I have already eaten the crab but have so much more to look forward to and whet my appetite, including unexpected treats like the pea soup, rhubarb, ray wings, mackerel, paté, kale, leaves, and much much more.
Julia Singer, Barnsbury, Apr 2011.
I love Farm Direct produce and you can always rely on getting the best ingredients! The website is very easy to use, and I never had any problems collecting my order either.
Lou, Highbury Apr 2011
What a great find farm direct is!
I have been using you for about five months now, and since January alone have lost ½ stone through all this healthy eating, and that has encouraged me to exercise as well. I also spend much less money each week, only buying things I want and not throwing things in my supermarket trolley that I often end up throwing away (I never knew I could have survived the winter on apples, pears and rhubarb!). And it has made me much more inventive in the kitchen, boiling up my chicken bones, using the ham hocks - I had a venision haunch recently and have roasted, curried and minced it (and frozen the rest!).
And of course I feel I am doing my bit, with all the food local and so a low carbon footprint.
Tricia, Highbury. Mar 2011
Am I wrong, or are you going from strength to strength?I do recommend you to all and sundry because you really don't do cr*p - always fresh, always good; all your meat is excellent, it's like having a really good local butcher.
Dinah, Archway Mar 2011
These weekly notes are one of the best parts about Farm Direct. I love knowing about what is coming in and going out of season and how the producers make their decisions about what to supply us. It's also great to get the other details on how the tides affect the fish catch, etc. This information has led me to try some new types of meats and vegetables this spring with resounding success each time.
Lila, Islington, Feb 2011
One of the best things about buying from Farm Direct is that you don't have to commit to a weekly veg box every week if you don't want to: you can simply pop in to the depot on Ronalds Road and take your pick.
Extract from an article written by Abi Silverster (to view whole article click here)
We had a wonderful christmas feast - the goose was superb, the veg equally fantastic and the smoked trout a real treat. James made Hugh F W'spear & celeriac stuffing and I think this combined with the goose is the future of christmas dinners in this household! Appreciate it must have been quite a palaver with all the snow, so well done and I hope you have had a nice rest this week. We're already missing our sprout tops and squashes and are looking forward to our first order of the new year.
Edi & James, Jan 2011
'The lamb was absolutely delicious. Really made our christmas meal. Thanks for all your wonderful service over the last year - has it been that long already? We certainly rely on it now for our meat, veg and weekend loaf.
Zoe Camp, Jan 2011
'I run pop-up restaurants and cater for large parties called Pips Dinners and I'm always looking for really interesting locally grown produce at reasonable prices. There are hundreds of so-called 'online shopping' ventures but the problem is that they in no way replicate the shopping experience we have face to face and are hugely unreliable in terms of customer expectations and price.
Farm Direct is different. They've understood the ideas of choice, variety and the web. This experience allows me to choose surprises and be inspired by seasonal stuff as well as stock up on the staples. The charming attitude of Robert and his team means nothing is too much trouble. I'm about to move to South London but I will certainly make the trip over the river to ensure I benefit from the expert and passionate sourcing.'
Philip Dundas, October 2010
'We've just moved to Brighton, but we felt that Farm Direct offered very high quality produce at a reasonable price and great customer service.. generally far better than another leading company!'
Sarah Kokkinos, October 2010
'Robert, the sausages, corn, butter, milk & damsons are all divine. We are in food heaven, thank you.
Helen Tindale, Nice Green Cafe, NW1, September 2010
'I just wanted to add to the growing list of happy customers. I like the way you keep expanding your service without losing the friendly touch. A happy combination of technology, with online ordering, text reminders and home deliveries, but also old-fashioned human touch with news of what is grown where and when. A reminder that food doesn't just drop out of the sky; a lot of hard work goes into producing it!'
Sarah Martin, N7, September 2010
'I really enjoyed your service...we were quite happy! It is useful receiving the text letting us know when you will be there..and the service was great.'
Kristen McLaughlin, August 2010
"I love your produce and your friendly staff - you're doing it all right as far as I'm concerned!"
Jo Hill, N7, July 2010
"We think you guys are wonderful - fantastic food and a fantastic service! Thank you!"
Dot Fraser, NW1, July 2010
"I was recommended farm-direct by a friend and our household have been really pleased with the order we had delivered at the weekend. Personally, I have spent time living on various organic esque farms and such and was delighted to see fruit and vegetables that reminded me of those times, irregular in shape and very tasty. It was also nice to get a text to know when the order was coming – this was really useful."
Paul Mitchell, E8, June 2010
"The service was really good. All the fresh products have kept well & the apple juice is delicious. I particularly appreciated getting a text with a rough time for delivery - so I didn't have to wait in all morning...all in all I think it's a great idea!"
Zoe Sanders, NW5, June 2010