Updated: Mar 7
Holidays are many things, but one huge ingredient is that of adventure! And whilst most of our guests are ready to adventure around the Island's beaches, downs, towns, and quiet spots, local and afar, I have noticed that a few aren’t so adventurous with the groceries. Yes, all the major supermarkets can delivery your regular food to The Granary’s door, but so can many local producers, and the Wight is a foodie isle! So, I urge you to be adventurous and try the wonderful local produce. I’m sure you won’t regret it. And as many of our producers, due to the quality of what they produce with such love, care and pride, distribute nationwide, you may never go back to the supermarkets again!
We have more sunshine here on the Island than anywhere else in the UK. This, together with some growing dedication, means our tomatoes are better than any in the UK. And just down the road is the amazing Tomato Stall. Traditionally I’m not even a big tomato fan, but moving here and tasting these moved my world. These days my heart leaps whenever a box of freshly picked tomatoes arrive on our doorstep. Their Padron peppers are second to none too! With just a little ‘Oil of Wight’ and some Wight Salt, you have a perfect starter or side dish. And if you use their own passata for the main course, with a few extra tomatoes, and slices of garlic from the Garlic Farm you have the perfect first night meal, easy to whip up, so good to get down!
It goes without saying you’d need a good wine or beer to accompany such a fine meal. If you are a wine person, I’d suggest the full-bodied red from Adgestone Vineyard. If you prefer beer, why not go for Goddard’s Planet Larger, a lovely clear, vegan brew! You’ll probably find one or the other of these on the table to greet you when you arrive at The Granary.
A favourite grower on the Island is the nearby Living Larder. We’ve had a weekly fruit and veg box from them since week one on the Island and we have never been disappointed. It is wonderful to mark the changes of the year from the veg that turns up on your doorstep. The best parts of the year, for me, are when the asparagus and radishes come in. And as every box, too, includes a recipe suggestion, I’m never at a loss knowing what to do with the arrivals.
We can arrange for a box of the above to greet you on arrival, but if you want a more ad-hoc pick up or delivery get in touch with Paul at 5-a-Day, just over in Ventnor. He sells lots of local and seasonal produce and can deliver directly to The Granary’s door. He also teams up delivery-wise with the Ventnor butcher and deli, Norris and Knight. Again, just give them a call to arrange your delivery.
Another of my favourites (and if you don’t trust me, just ask Jamie Oliver) are IW Mushrooms. So, after your first night Tomato Stall meal, why not breakfast on locally grown mushrooms from the above, eggs from Farmer Jack's, on a sourdough bread from Cantina. Of course, this kind of down-home style needs a locally roasted coffee – I’d suggest a Dark Seas from Island Roasted Coffee and their Wight Label Tea. You will find this coffee, or perhaps their Smooth Shores, provided at The Granary, their teas too.
Maybe though, active mornings are your thing! Ready for a little yoga by the pool or a run up the downs…need to skip the coffee and eggs? The perfect fuel for this is a fruity porridge, milled on the Island at Calbourne Watermill. I go for the Apple and Cinnamon myself, but I also love the plain porridge with a spoonful of honey from Bunbury Bees - a breakfast as perfect as it gets.
Another great foodie choice it to get the fire pit going, pick up some freshly caught mackerel from the Haven Fishery and get grilling. What better than locally caught fish cooked al fresco, by the pool? They also have pristine crab and lobster and are always ready to offer a cooking suggestion for whatever you buy whether bass, skate, sole, or, my choice, delicious gurnard!
And when dinner is done, the Island provides dessert…and after that, cheese and biscuits. For the former, head to local ice cream parlour Craves for a takeaway tub of whatever you can imagine, including a great selection of vegan ice creams. If the latter is more you thing try poppy seed savoury biscuits from IOW Biscuits with a Blue from the Isle of Wight Cheese Co and a Garlic Farm relish or two!
These are but a few of the amazing places for local produce, I could really go on and on and on (I haven’t yet mentioned Isle of Wight Distillery, for killer gin, Tipsy Wight's flavoured vodkas, Wild Island for superlative oils, or Godshill Orchard for the sweetest cherries). You can pick up all of the above, en-route to The Granary, and more besides, at shops like Brownrigg's Farm Shop, or Briddlesford Farm Shop. Or you can have it delivery to The Granary, or just ask me to grab something for you, ready for your arrival. I’ve recently noticed a national supermarket advertising itself in the ferry magazines as your ‘one-stop shop’ for all you need for your visit. Don’t let that happen. Keep your holiday adventurous - have an adventure in taste!