Two Purbeck businesses with a passion for sustainability are joining forces to boost the farm shop at a garden centre, well known for its pioneering approach to business.
The Salt Pig, with retail outlets in Swanage and Wareham, has taken over the farm shop at Holme for Gardens near Wareham in Dorset and will be offering customers more locally produced food to eat in and take away.
The counter of Holme Farm Shop will introduce ranges of Salt Pig foods
Emphasis on truly local foods
Holme for Gardens directors Simon and Liz Goldsack decided that the popular farm shop should be let out to an experienced and successful local food retailer who shared their company’s ethos of standards, customer service and sustainability.
Liz, currently manager of the farm shop, will now be able to focus on the 15 acre grounds and help Simon continue their six year transformation of a former fruit farm into a wildlife haven with a growing reputation for nature recovery.
The Holme Farm Shop currently offers a selection of Dorset cheeses, meat, bread and preserves along with locally produced beer, wine and cider.
Under The Salt Pig, run by James Warren, the emphasis will be placed on foods produced in Purbeck itself, with most of it coming from within an eight mile radius.
While the Salt Pig aims to introduce an eat in option at the shop, the much loved Orchard Cafe will continue to run unchanged
The farm shop’s current Christmas gift selection will start to focus more on local produce
Improving choice and local provenance
Simon Goldsack said:
“We think that The Salt Pig, with two existing urban farm shops in Swanage and Wareham, and with an outstanding reputation for local sourcing and friendly customer relations, is the perfect fit for us.
“It will be good for our customers by improving choice and local provenance, and will also give Liz more management time so that we can focus on developing the Orchard Cafe, the gardens and garden centre in a sustainable way.
“We want Holme to be about the beautiful surroundings, the relaxing ambience, gorgeous plants, birdsong and wildlife, but mostly about people enjoying themselves.
Holme Gardens is about the ambience, gorgeous plants and wildlife
A place to relax and be inspired
“Whether people are keen gardeners or just love being outside connecting with nature, we aim to make Holme a place to relax and to be inspired.
“Our mission is to constantly improve what we offer and to do this sustainably, in a manner that respects the wildlife, the heritage and the landscape of Purbeck and we are happy to work with other businesses and volunteer groups who share these values.”
James Warren, who runs the Salt Pig, began working in agriculture after leaving school and opened his first urban farm shop in Wareham after seeing the range of amazing foods being produced in Purbeck.
He has since opened restaurants in Swanage and Wareham, pop-up cafes in Tyneham, Studland and at Carey’s Secret Garden, and will now be looking to offer another catering outlet at Holme for Gardens.
The Salt Pig keeps rare breed Mangalitsa and Berkshire pigs on local heathland and woodland
“We give back what Purbeck gives us”
“Our ethos is that the food we eat should come from where we live, utilising the local ecosystem.
“We can proudly say that all our beef, lamb, pork and game comes from coastal cliffs, wetlands, heaths, woods and small farms, with high levels of stewardship and located within eight miles of our cafes.
“The Isle of Purbeck has so much to offer with diverse habitats and we want people to taste the difference of eating local foods.
“We give back what Purbeck gives us, so we only use and sell meat and fish that comes from within the Isle of Purbeck and the bays that surround us.”
James Warren at The Sandy Salt Pig cafe opened at Middle Beach, Studland, in January 2023
“Better produce for the same price”
“We want our community to embrace and taste what is on our beautiful doorstep, to enjoy quality food from their local surroundings at an affordable price, and to see what is available on their doorstep.
“It does mean spending more sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be an awful lot more. We have our own butchers and cut out middlemen in the process, allowing us to use a better grade product while giving a farmer a premium for that.
“We can put better produce on the plate for the same price that other people are putting lesser quality food for and customers can tell the difference and will keep coming back.”
Holme Henge has been created in heather gardens to give colour all year round
The palm garden includes stunning foliage and vibrant flowers
Two tonne Purbeck stone monoliths
The 15 acres of gardens at Holme have been transformed in the last six years, changing the features and the habitats to encourage a huge range of insects, birds and other wildlife, at the same time as putting on a show of colour and scents for visitors.
From lavender walks to a bluebell wood, wild flower meadows to a butterfly meadow and a pond dipping centre, nature is placed at the heart of the garden creation as part of the wider Wareham Arc nature recovery zone.
There are features around every corner, including Holme Henge with its two tonne Purbeck stone monoliths from Suttle quarries and a grass banked amphitheatre where outdoor productions are staged through summer.
A robin pauses to admire the colourful gardens – and the plentiful insect life!
The wildflower meadows are a popular summer attraction at Holme
150 varieties of apple trees
“Our gardens are peat free and no fertilisers are used except to a small number of grass paths to help them cope with high levels of wear and tear.
“We have solar panels to provide 60 to 80 percent of our power and have a reservoir of our own to collect run-off rainwater for use in the gardens.
“We have a national collection of hypericums taken on from Kew’s sister garden at Wakehurst Place, and we are hoping to have more of our own national collections of rare species.
“Our apple orchard has 150 varieties of apple trees and a lovely long grass meadow which teems with wildlife – so whether our visitors consider themselves to be gardeners or not, a walk around our gardens will always be an enjoyable experience!”
The grass banked amphitheatre in the gardens has regular performances through summer
The Merry Wives of Windsor was one of the most popular shows of summer 2023 in Holme’s outdoor amphitheatre