Thursday, 28 July 2011

Impromptu weekend away #3: South Devon Chilli Farm - Buckfastleigh - Home (Really this time!)

Having another very good and exciting weekend to tell you about plus several recipes I figured I'd best finish off the 'IW' sequence at some point this decade! :-)
So we motored off out of Salcombe, licking ice-cream off our fingers and following the satnav built into the Chaps phone - very handy as we'd never have found the Chilli Farm without it; it's a wee bit in the middle of nowhere! After following some pretty small roads and cutting across others we pulled into their smart gravel car park. There's a bit of an industrial unit thing going on and off to one side is the timber building housing the 
shop with many different chilli items and their cafe; which we didn't partake of but which looked good. There were some interesting books which we mentally tagged as potential gift ideas - or possibly just for ourselves! There was the whole range of their chilli chocolate - including a new one to try that's not yet for sale made with Naga chilli - that was a bit hot for my taste but the others are lovely. Also on offer were dried chillis, chilli seeds, relishes, chutnies and sauces all made with some of the vast number of different chilli varieties they stock.  We settled on some orange chilli chocolate, some smoky chipotle sauce and some chilli chutney.  We then ventured outside to check out the polytunnels and peruse the plants for sale section.

The polytunnels were fascinating - as well as all the varieties they use in their products and sell they have other trial types, also tomatillos which I'd never seen
in the flesh before and remind me of big Cape Gooseberry or Chinese Lantern type plants.  We also loved the look of this purple chilli variety - sorry I can't remember the name but it wasn't one they had for sale yet.
Having had a good nose at all the plants the polytunnels had to offer we carried on to the plants for sale area.  Now - when it comes to plant nurseries or open gardens or farm shops with plants or a wee pasting table in the drive outside someones house I am truly my mother's daughter.  [Although in the case of my mother it used to include pub hanging baskets for 'cuttings' as well!!  Worse part of it is she'd get me to break off the purloined cutting as I was taller than her by the time I was about 12.]  Neither of us can go within a country mile of any or all of these places and not come away with something.  [Hence my mahoosive collection of seeds but we won't mention those - I have plans for those to keep them from taking over any more of the house!]  This inevitably meant that the Chap and I would be adding to our small family of chilli plants for this year.  (A quick aside here - the Chap has got right into the Chilli growing this year with some of his own seeds he planted from our trip to a nursey back in March, seeds from a yellow chilli I had at home that Ma grew last year and a couple of plants my Ma gave us - she's been growing them for years in the lean to conservatory at home in Dorset and makes a mean Chilli jelly - with cheese it's divine!)  So - the only question was which would we go for?  As we sauntered along the shelves checking
out the labels a sudden outbreak of fluttering and cheeping above our heads distracted us - up in the corner a few feet away was a swallows nest and every so often one of the parents would zoom in with some insectile goodness firmly grasped in beak to be met by a renewed cheeping and the 'I've got the biggest flip top head' contest from the brood.  [Excuse the pic quality but I wasn't about to use the flash on them.]  This was entrancing and we could have happily stopped there for a few hours just watching in fascination but we had plants to buy then lunch to find so, with some difficulty we finally narrowed our choices down.  The Chap got a 'Peruvian Purple' and I chose the 'Aji Limon' - one I've liked the sound of for a while.  I will keep you updated with how they do - especially as this is over a month ago now - my bad!!
Next - off to find that elusive lunch.
We ended up stopping in Buckfastleigh which is on the edge of the moor quite close to Exeter although I don't know it myself.  It was that or we were in danger of getting back home before we decided on food.  We pulled up at the Abbey Inn and sadly perused the sign informing us they'd stopped serving food but 5 minutes earlier - then we decided to stay anyway and have a bag of crisps with our pints and just enjoy the view from our riverside table.  When the sun is shining and the water is burbling all you need is a packet of Burts Salt and Pepper flavour and a pint of Dartmoor Best and the Chap and it's bliss.  Trust me.  :-D
Suitably refreshed we toddled on our way and were soon home with memories of some great places and what seemed like a much longer break than 2 days.  If you have the chance and the funds [this was the Chaps treat for which I thank him - he is a star!!] to nip off unplanned try it - it's a true tonic and you don't have to go far to find somewhere you've never visited.  Get out there my friends!!


  1. Ruth, I have loved these descriptions of your weekend. It sounds like a lot of fun and you went to such interesting places. I have never been to or even heard of a chilli farm, but one day I will come and visit you and you can take me there!!!!!

  2. It's a deal! I think it's perhaps a wee bit cold up your way for chilli farms maybe... :-D


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