Tuesday, August 23, 2016


How I love Essex fruit farms and the chance to Pick My Own!  There are many in our county, but Spencer’s Farm Shop in the tiny village of Wickham St Pauls near Halstead Essex, is one of the best. This  family-run business established in 1973 has a wonderful  Coffee Shop opened in 2010 run by Frosty and Ray Mead.

The Farm Shop is run by Jenny Spencer - third generation of the family to operate Spencer’s - and her business partner Jo O’Boyle. Both Jenny and Jo recently gave up their corporate careers in London to move to the countryside to get a better work life balance while working for themselves. They took over the running of the shop in March 2016.

Adjacent to the main building is the Coffee Shop run by Frosty and Ray Mead -  great cooks - and Frosty is a superb cake maker - which I can certainly verify. All the food is home made, cooked and prepared by Frosty and Ray, excellent chefs and cake makers (see my birthday cake at my last visit)

The fruit farm side of the business continues to be run by the Spencers as it has been since the 1970s. It is a Pick Your Own fruit system and this was great when I needed lots of fruit to use in my winemaking endeavours at the time of writing my wine-making column for Home Farmer - a great international magazine. 

It's good to see the fruit growing at the back of the building and the owner allowed me to take some photographs last year for my column. Close by,  there's a large play area for children including a sand pit, climbing frame, vintage tractor and ride on tractors. This year in early summer, Spencers started their own small petting farm too with goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens - well worth a visit for families. 

Travel Advisor review: 
We happened upon the farm shop and tea room more by accident than planned, but what a delight!  Great food shop with a nice selection food.  Tea room lovely food excellent quality and plentiful and the service was good too. Definitely will be going back. Highly recommended.  

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