WE brits have definately become more a nation of foodies over the last few years, and devoting a whole day to planning, shopping for, cooking, and eating a single meal is now seen as a legitimate activity.  

Many of Cheshire's high streets offer one or more quality bakers, butchers, greengrocers, delicatessens, and fishmongers, and wandering up and down at your leisure - and maybe stopping for a bite to eat and a glass of something fortifying - is one of the best ways to get inspired about what it is you want to cook. 

Another option, of course, is to take full advantage of the fact we live in one of the most agricultural counties in England and pay a visit to one of the many farm shops  the area has to offer.

They all offer top-quailty local produce that you'll struggle to find anywhere else, and some can even be a fun day out for all the family, with play areas, cafes, and animal petting areas.

Here's our round-up of just a handful of them to get you inspired.

Riverside Organics, Davenham

Northwich Guardian: The view across the stunning Dane Valley for Riverside Organic's terrace is second to none The view across the stunning Dane Valley for Riverside Organic's terrace is second to none (Image: Riverside Organic)

Based at Shipbrook Farm, Whatcroft, this family-run ‘hidden gem’ has been in the same family since 1966, but they have certainly moved with the times.

Set on a hilltop overlooking the River Dane, Riverside Organics is very much a destination for the family as well as a farm shop, with a tearoom with indoor and outdoor seating, two children’s play areas, and a petting area where you can feed goats, pigs, sheep, and even emus.  

Simon Bennett and family sell home-reared organic lamb and beef, as well as top-quality organic chicken and pork, both through the shop and via their home delivery service.

There is also fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs, quality store cupboard staples, eggs, dairy products, a good selection of local cheeses, homemade cakes, and ice cream from Snugbury’s in Nantwich.  

One reviewer on Tripadvisor said: “Some fresh fruit and veg on sale, and a good selection of store cupboard stuff.

“I bought the last whole chicken they had, and I have to say, it was possibly the nicest chicken I've ever eaten. I'd go back again just for that.”

Shipbrook Farm, Manor Ln, Davenham, Northwich CW9 7RH

Cheerbrook Farm Shop, Nantwich

Northwich Guardian: Cheerbook pride themselves on their 'as you like it' style of butcheryCheerbook pride themselves on their 'as you like it' style of butchery (Image: Google)

Cheerbook prides itself on bringing its loyal customers the best produce Cheshire has to offer through their onsite butchery, bakery, delicatessen, and café. 

Specialising in Aberdeen Angus beef and local lamb from Moss Farm in Middlewich, their butchers pride themselves on their ‘nose to tail’ ethos, and their ‘as you like it’ approach, meaning they will cut, trim and prepare cuts of meat to their customers’ liking.

The deli counter sells cured meats, pies, pates, cheeses, and much more. They will even make up a platter for you, and for those who want to eat quality food but are pushed for time, there’s an excellent range homecooked of ‘ready meals’, including sides and puddings, which you can just pop straight in the oven.

On Tripadvisor, one reviewer said: “The only downside to this place is it’s not close enough to my house.

“Attentive service from the two friendly young ladies, who couldn't do enough, and even the chef was approachable and willing to answer my questions about the food and the ingredients he uses.

“Next stop the butchery - again friendly staff, very knowledgeable and willing to help.

“I had to buy bacon and sausage after sampling them on my breakfast, which I just had to recreate at home.

“The patisserie section of the counter looked incredible, and very inviting.”

Newcastle Rd, Willaston, Nantwich CW5 7EL

The Hollies Farm Shop, Little Budworth and Lower Stretton

Northwich Guardian: The Hollies have outlets in Little Budworth and Lower StrettonThe Hollies have outlets in Little Budworth and Lower Stretton (Image: Google)

This award-winning food and leisure business, founded in 1959, actually has two farm shops - the original in Little Budworth, and a second now in Lower Stretton.

Bringing together over 70 suppliers from across the region all under one roof, it's an ideal place for best quality artisan chutneys and relishes, fantastic bread, cakes, pastries, seasonal produce, fresh and preserved meats, and wonderfully fresh fish.

With a real emphasis on traceability, you’re ensured high quality and great welfare standards with all the meat.

The Lower Stretton site has an excellent and newly redeveloped café, where chef Gareth uses fresh ingredients from the farm shop, showcasing many of their local producers and drawing on the families heritage in farming for over 50 years.

One Tripadvisor said: “This was my first visit to the Hollies, and I will be back - such a vibrant and friendly atmosphere.

“The farmers market is a great addition with lots of tasters, and the farm shop is packed with the most delicious produce, fabulous deli choices and the most beautiful shop and café.

“An afternoon well spent here, and I can’t wait to return.”

Tarporley Road, Little Budworth, Tarporly, CW6 9ES & Northwich Road, Lower Stretton, Warrington, WA4 4PG

The Lambing Shed, Knutsford

Northwich Guardian: The Lambing Shed sells home-reared beef, pork and lambThe Lambing Shed sells home-reared beef, pork and lamb (Image: Newsquest)

Very much a working farm with a flock of over 2,500 sheep and a herd of 250 beef cattle, The Lambing Shed is set in more than 400 acres of prime Cheshire farmland.

Opened by the Mitchell family in 2015 to showcase their award-winning home reared beef and lamb, they have since increased their offering to include much of the very best Cheshire has to offer in terms of fine food and drink.

As well as the full range of farm shop produce, this weekend the butchery is starring the farm’s very own pork, which looks truly fantastic, as well as new-season English asparagus from Kenyon Hall Farm, just 17 miles down the road from the shop.

With a raft of industry awards under its belt, the Lambing Shed is the place for serious foodies who want to be inspired into a whole-day cooking session, and the café’s ‘large plates’ selection would rival any modern British restaurant, with dishes like braised featherblade of home-reared beef. 

No wonder they won UK’s Farm Shop Café of the Year in the Farm Retail Awards last year. 

One Tripadvisor reviewer wrote: “We called in for lunch and it was absolutely delicious.

“Lots to choose from, but the shin beef pie was divine, and coffee and walnut cake completed the perfect meal.

“Staff were so friendly, and polite couldn’t do enough for you. No wonder it keeps winning awards.”

Moseley Hall Farm, Chelford Road, Knutsford, WA16 8RB

The Housekeeper’s Store, Tatton Park

Northwich Guardian: The Housekeeper's Stores is one of the few places your can get your hands on Tatton park's own venison from its herd of red deerThe Housekeeper's Stores is one of the few places your can get your hands on Tatton park's own venison from its herd of red deer (Image: Tatton Park)

With its long tradition of supplying food to the neighbouring estates and villages, the Housekeeper's Store is definitely one you should call in to if you find yourself in Tatton Park.

Located in the Stableyard on the cobbled walk to the mansion, the shop showcases Tatton's own estate-reared venison, pork, lamb and game, when in season.

It’s where you go to buy the tempting seasonal produced you can see growing in Tatton's splendid walled kitchen garden, and they also sell a wide range of local produce from slightly further afield, including jams, chutneys, ales, gins, handmade chocolates, beeswax wraps, and more.

Tatton Park , Knutsford , Cheshire , WA16 6QN