Abbey Parks Farm Shop, East Heckington
The busy A17 winds through some of the most productive agricultural land in our county and those heading to and from the north Norfolk coast and East Anglia can try a taste of this great produce at Abbey Parks Farm Shop and Restaurant.
Situated at East Heckington and an ideal stopping place for both holidaymakers and locals is Abbey Parks Farm Shop and Restaurant. On the day I visited, Sophie Loweth explained that for them some regulars visit a couple of times a week and others just twice a year – once on their way to their holiday and again on their way back, but calling in for lunch or a coffee is an eagerly anticipated part of their break. Sophie is the daughter of the family who farm the land alongside and her mother established the farm shop and deli over twelve years ago
Talking to Sophie, it is easy to see that she shares their enthusiasm for locally grown produce. The Loweths are arable and speciality asparagus growers and there are always eight or more seasonal dishes on the daily menu featuring, if not their own, then other locally sourced ingredients.
The all-day farmhouse breakfasts, with Lincolnshire sausage and bacon, are firm favorites, while lighter lunch options always include a choice of two homemade soups, salads, filled paninis or sandwiches. Homemade cakes and scones are a tempting choice when stopping by for a refreshing cup of tea or coffee.
Sophie explained that her recent goal has been to offer more healthy and special dietary options for the menu. The result is some lighter meal choices, as well as more wheat free and gluten free baked goods and the availability of almond milk for drinks. Sophie also explained that their bestseller was still the signature homemade burger using locally sourced beef with Cote Hill Blue cheese in the middle.
The inside of Abbey Parks is quaint and rural with antique artifacts (some of which are for sale) and barn style décor. A large open fire is very welcoming and cosy in winter. In warmer weather there are a couple of outside seating areas where you can soak up the sunshine and enjoy an afternoon tea al fresco.
The well-stocked deli sells many of the products and ingredients on the menu; too tempting not to leave without some of that Cote Hill Blue to enjoy at home, perhaps some Pocklington’s Bakery Plum Bread, fresh vegetables or delicious Grantham Gingerbreads. There are also tailor made and Lincolnshire produce hampers, which make perfect Christmas gifts.
Throughout the year special themed evenings are held. The next Bistro at Abbey Parks event will be a Steak Night with live music on Saturday 20th September and a Pop-Up Wine Bar evening is planned for October.
Abbey Parks is licensed so diners can enjoy a glass of excellent wine or a local beer from Sleaford Brewery, Batemans or Oakham Ales with their meal.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Sophie ended our conversation by talking about the many requests to provide outside catering for private dinner parties, christenings, weddings or any other special occasion, which has resulted in a bespoke service for eight to 200 guests.
These menus are created with the same care and commitment to local ingredients as the choices in the restaurant.