Briddlesford Lodge Farm, on the outskirts of Wootton on the north coast of the Isle of Wight, has one of longest established farm shops on the Island, is a working dairy farm with an award-winning herd of beautiful Guernsey cows and boasts one of the best cafes on the Island.
Designed by Lincoln Miles, Bluebells country café/restaurant serves freshly made dishes made from Island produce, including veal and milk from the farm.
“We use all Island produce where possible,” said Chris Griffin who runs the café side of the farm. “Veal is our signature dish from our own herd, and is very popular – veal rump, veal pie and veal casserole.”
The young calves from the dairy herd are all reared on the farm with the females eventually joining their mothers in the dairy herd and the males being reared for veal. The calves have a lovely life and can be petted in the barn next to the café – a particular favourite for children.
All the other meats on the menu are from Paul Woodwood the Briddlesford Lodge Farm Shop butcher who sources from across the Island, including beef from New Barn Farm and Kemphill Farm, Lamb from New Barn Farm and turkeys, chickens and eggs from Brownrigg Poultry.
Isle of Wight Cheese Company cheese is used in many of the dishes – Gallybagger, Blue and Soft. Vegetables are from the Farm Shop and hearty warm vegetable soups are a particular favourite when the weather gets colder. The best selling banana smoothies are another speciality, along with creamy hot chocolates and latte coffees – all made with milk from the Griffin’s Guernsey herd.
Chris’s daughter Lauren Hoyal designed the eyecatching bluebell covered fabric of the tablecloths and cushion covers in the cafe and Island artist, Lisa Traxler, created the eye-catching collages using images of the Griffin family and the farm that are on the sliding doors between the cafe and the classroom area. In term time there are often school visits to the farm.
The family run Farm shop opened its doors on December 11, 2005 and has over 50 different Island suppliers. Almost all of the food and goods for sale in the Farm Shop are from the Island with just a few more exotic items being sourced elsewhere such as avocados, aubergines and citrus fruit. These sit side by side with the good array of vegetables pleasantly presented in attractive wooden boxes on a display running through the centre of the shop.
Ketchup and chilli sauce from The Tomato Stall, apple juice from Sharon Orchard, Garlic Farm chutneys and pickles (and garlic of course), biscuits from Rew Valley dairy, Oil of Wight and Calbourne Classics’ breakfast cereals and yoghurt are just some of the Island fayre on offer.
And of course there are the four ‘Buttercup’ milks from the farm: whole milk, semi skimmed, skimmed and unpasteurised whole milk along with double cream and clotted cream, which is made in the café kitchen.
All of the wines on sale are made on the Island, including local mead and the chefs in Bluebells’ kitchen make all the cheesecakes, sausage rolls, pies and casseroles on sale in the shop.
Paul Griffin is Farm Manager, and keeps the award winning dairy Guernsey cows in tip-top condition, following in Dad Richard’s footsteps who still works on the farm too.
Briddlesford Lodge Farm has been in the Griffin family since 1923 when Paul and Louise’s great grandfather moved over from Grove Farm in Adgestone with his twelve cows, from which all of the current cows are descended.
The farm has 150 cows in its herd and those in the milk pool are milked twice a day with each milking session taking between three and four hours. Paul avidly consults with the visiting cow nutritionist every month to make sure that Briddlesford remain the award winning top yielding Guernsey herd in the country.
The wonderful rich Guernsey milk is then sold across the Island at Brighstone Village Stores, Bembridge Farm Shop, King’s Manor Farm Shop and the Real Island Food Company.