There is everything you would expect from a large, cure nationally recognised farm shop, with the added benefit of a restaurant with stunning views across the river and a programme of events throughout the year.
The food hall was founded by the seventh generation of a local farming family and in 2012 cousins Oliver and Robert Paul siezed the opportunity to bring together the finest local produce Suffolk has to offer.
Farms on the Shotley Peninsula have been instrumental in developing Red Poll cattle, the native breed of Suffolk and Norfolk, which was originally created in the 1800s by crossing a Suffolk Dun, a milking ‘house’ cow with the Norfolk Red, a beef breed. The Red Poll is a deep red brown colour, and is ‘polled’ which in the farming world means it naturally has no horns.
They were farmed across the world for dual-purpose qualities: for being good converters of lower grade pasture into high grade beef, and for the high butterfat content in their creamy milk. However, in the 1970s farming moved to more single-purpose systems (specialising in milk) and the Red Poll fell out of favour.
More recently the Paul family and others have seen the extensive (low input/cost) nature of the Red Poll as making them better suited to the competing demands on the modern farmer and there is added bonus that they also look great on the pastureland around the Suffolk Food Hall!
The herd continues to be bred using an extensive system (predominantly grass-based, slow maturing and mostly outdoors); a longer rearing process produces greater flavour and the milk of the Red Poll makes the cows excellent mothers. A smaller animal than the commercial equivalent, the joints are better defined, cook better with more intramuscular fat (marbling) and taste divine.
Red Poll beef is available from the butchery or in the Cookhouse Restaurant at the Suffolk Food Hall.
A home and garden department, lovely walks along the river in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and jumping pillows for children to play on while their parents enjoy a coffee in the café, are all part of the Food Hall’s appeal.
There is ample free parking, disabled access and free wifi. Group tours are welcome, as are dogs (outside only).
Suffolk Food Hall Ltd, Wherstead, IP9 2AB
T: 01473 786610
Food Hall and Home & Garden
T: 01473 786610 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open: Mon to Thurs & Sat 9am – 6pm | Fri 9am – 7pm | Sun 10.30am – 4.30pm
T: 01473 786616 E: email@example.com
Open: Mon to Thurs 8am – 5pm | Fri & Sat 8am – 11pm | Sun 8.30am – 4.30pm