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Anyone in Axminster?

Apparently HFWs new shop opened on Saturday, just wondered if anyone's visited yet.

You'll get to see all about it in the new River Cottage series which is about....opening a local food shop in a small English advert in six 30 min episodes (CH4 8pm Thurs nights in Nov I bet).

Hopefully it wont be a series of contrived episodesm attempting to inject tension and eexcitement based on the late delivery of the paper bags.

I don't know how he gets a way with it. Laughing

ps. River Cottage Fish Book sheduled for realease in er...November.
RRP £30 £20 on Amazon already.

Just in time for Christmas. Wink
Rob R

Yes, lots of new information about it in the 2008 River Cottage Diary, available to buy now from certain retailers Wink

Yeah, I know all that.

Just wanted to know what people thought of the shop and what it offers, how it fits in to Axminster, etc....

We will be round there in about 4 weeks so will go and have a snoop abot and repot bcak if no-one goes before then Very Happy

Ta Bernie

Better late than never, I suppose - we went in October and I have finally got round to writing some kind of review Very Happy

It was a lovely sunny afternoon when we landed up in Axminster - it was not difficult to spot the River Cottage Stores a huge sign above the shop in the River Cottage green and white announced where the shop was situated.

The shop is situated in Axminster in the premises, which were previously a pub (New Commercial Inn) which had been empty for some years.

As you first walk into the shop you come across baskets and boxes of fruit and veg, which appeared to be from a variety of suppliers but Riverford Organics, were certainly one of them. I picked up a parsnip and some carrots, which had certainly seen, better days. In fact I would not have paid money for them. They were dry and a bit shrivelled and very limp and only good for using in the stock or soup pot which I am sure HFW will do when he eventually gets the old function room of the pub up and running as a 60 seater canteen which apparently will be serving dishes using the ingredients from the shop. The plan is apparently to have a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with possible menu ideas being: boiled eggs and soldiers, pigs head salad, potted crab, roast shoulder of mutton etc….

One of the other main products on sale in the shop was River Cottage Meat from River Cottage HQ and other organic farms. All of the meat was organic and although there was evidence of some of the less popular joints and animal bits on offer I was disappointed that there wasn’t a butcher on hand and that the meat was all ready butchered and packed in packaging (which I am sure was ethical/biodegradable, but I couldn’t find someone to ask) - all of the refrigerated stuff is displayed in re-cycled fridges though.

There was evidence on the top of the fridges of one of HFW’s campaigns. He was collecting signatures for his ‘Chicken Out’ campaign, which he is hoping, will help put pressure on the poultry farming industry to de-intensify by lowering stock densities and get them to take on board schemes similar to the RSPCA Freedom Foods. He also wants to pressurise the supermarkets to adopt these welfare systems as standard and he also wants them to end their poultry price wars, pay a fair price to farmers and change labelling so that the customer knows exactly what they are buying. Ultimately HFW says that he would like to see more assured free range and organic birds. Details of how you can lend your support are here

In the next refrigerator were local cheeses, quiches, hams and desserts, which looked delicious. Also on sale were local sausages, local butter, the usual River Cottage yogurts and soups (how expensive!!), local jams and chutneys and alcohol (wine, beer, cider, fruit liqueurs), which was produced locally, including some quirky products, like bottles of organic cucumber vodka!! There was also a good selection of fair trade coffee, tea from Cornwall, locally milled flour and excellent bread from the Mill Bakery in Lyme Regis (not sure whether they will still remain a supplier once they start baking their own bread). You could of course, get all of Hugh’s books plus others on keeping chickens, growing vegetables, planting polytunnels, goat keeping etc… a very good selection of organic vegetable seeds and some nice looking hessian seed sprouters.

In general the shop stocks a wide variety of locally sourced products with the general ethos being local, seasonal, organic and wild. My only concern is that the price of some of the goods would certainly prohibit many from being able to buy them on a regular basis.

However, it can only be a good thing for Axminster and its shops that HFW's shop is bringing people in to the town. We ended up having a drink in the town and also buying some meat from here where I understand HFW has a supportive role and within the store itself you can get a map of local producers in the town and surrounding area.

Mixed bag then? Thanks Bernie. Anyone else been there?
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