The Field Magazine - Teals Somerset Article


The Field - Teals Somerset

Author: Charlotte Mackaness

We think of Teals as a canvas on which to celebrate localness, where the producers and makers are the stars that add the colour. However, it wasn’t the rolling countryside of the West Country that provided the inspiration behind its opening but a long-ago trip to Africa during which Sinfield and her husband, Nick, were charmed by how farmers sold direct to the public on beautifully presented stalls.

We want to ensure there’s as much Somerset goodness as possible,” says Ash Sinfield, founder of this jewel of a farm shop near Wincanton.

“These small cottage industries were lifelines not just for us on our travels but for the farmers. Somerset is also a region rich with produce and home to a wonderful community of craftspeople,” she explains. And so years later – in the middle of the second COVID-19 lockdown – Teals opened. Today, you’ll find a food market crammed with delights, plus a lifestyle area with homewares, clothing and gifts, and a restaurant that has swiftly established itself as a destination for local foodies.

An on-site traditional butchery is steered by the principles of quality, provenance and welfare. Teals has close relationships with the area’s heritage farmers. Red Ruby beef, for example, comes from nearby Bagnell Farm and its 200 acres of mixed woodland and steep grass. This is also home to Jacob sheep that provide the shop with lamb. “It isn’t all about prime cuts. Whether you’re looking for thrifty pork belly or rib of beef, we’re committed to making the most of the entire animal,” says Ash Sinfield.

‘All killers, no fillers’ will be music to the ears of wine lovers, as it’s the mantra of those behind the bottle store at Teals. The array of mainly organic, low-intervention, natural wines from smaller vineyards, as well as local gins, vodkas, rums and English whisky, is wide. It comes as little surprise, this being Somerset, that there’s also ciders aplenty from nearby orchards.

Teals Farm Shop a303 Somerset
Teals Foodmarket A303

Iron will to resist trying and buying a bit of everything may be required at the deli counter. The extensive range of British heritage cheeses has been selected by Neal’s Yard Dairy. These can be picked up along with food to go such as Iron Age pork sausage rolls and super-fresh salads: Teals’ salad supplier is just a mile away.

The menu in the light and airy restaurant, which is open from 8am, changes daily. There’s something for all appetites, from pastries and cooked breakfasts to smoked chalkstream trout. Booking a table is possible and recommended to avoid disappointment. And one senses that all those at Teals genuinely want everyone who visits to have a lovely time. The entire set-up has a community-spirited atmosphere, from the desire to ‘balance purpose and profi t’ and environmental commitments to making produce available to local food banks and initiatives for cooking for the homeless.

“Little pockets of time that disrupt us from our frenetic lives can be powerful reminders of life’s small joys,” believes Sinfi eld. The only fl aw in that argument is that visitors will want a lot more than a short visit to Teals.

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