Riverford Farm Shop

The Riverford box scheme started when founder, Guy Watson, started delivering organic veg boxes to local friends in Devon. They now have a customer base of over 47,000 and are one of the biggest names in organic vegetables. A few weekends ago (yep, its been that long – sorry for radio silence recently, I’ve been manic at work!) Adam and I visited the Riverford Farm Shop in Yealmpton (PL8 2LT) for a nose around and high hopes for an organic brunch.


The shop has been around since 1995 and is a mix of farm shop, pick your own fruit farm and small restaurant area. You can get a huge number of organic and non organic local products including meat, fish, wine, bakery goods, deli items, household goods and of course, fruits and vegetables.

As a family, we’ve had Riverford veg boxes delivered fortnightly for years and the quality and range of vegetables is great – it is a rare occasion where anything we get goes to waste. Plus you occasionaly get an unusual vegetable which is always accompanied with an explanation and a recipe card – their tomatillo salsa verde last summer was fantastic!

riverford-farm-shop-the-riverford-wayriverford-farm-shop-asparagusriverford-farm-shop-ecover-honeycomberiverford-farm-shop-farm shop-front-door

If I’m really honest, we were both a little disappointed by the Riverford farm shop. I think because the subscription boxes are so good and I’ve been to quite a number of cafes where they grow their own ingredients, I was excitedly expecting something along the lines of my ideal restaurant. I can’t really explain why, but the whole place lacked any originality or inspiration. Yes, it was in a glorified greenhouse, but that should have added to the charm of what they were selling. However instead it just felt the wrong side of shabby chic.

I think what didn’t help was the lack of customers in the cafe and the enormous wait for drinks and food. The menu was quite limited, which in some places is fine as they concentrate on limited options but do them really well. The breakfasts were all variations of fry ups or toast, without any other options that could have utilised the range of organic freshly picked fruit on offer in the shop – I felt that a pancake stack or porridge option would have been great!



We both opted for a full english as we had planned it perfectly in time for brunch. I had the clipper red berry tea which was delish and as it was so sunny, Adam wanted a coke, but instead they stocked Ubunto cola- which turned out to be a great substitute and was fair trade so you can’t go wrong (I’m very anti-coke on most occasions!) We sat outside on the picnic benches in the sunshine with beautiful flower beds behind us, it was just a shame that to the other side the building wasn’t that pretty. The food arrived after about half an hour, which was too long in my opinion for the limited number of customers and the waiting staff were surprising for an organic (without sounding like too much of a snob, trackies and trainers don’t bode too well to make a place look smart).


riverford-farm-shop-paellaMaybe I’ve just been spoilt by the amazing breakfasts you can get in Falmouth for a fraction of the price. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but it just wasn’t anything to write home about (and yet, here I am blogging about it). I’ve realised this post is quite whingy, but overall it was a lovely place to visit and buy some fresh produce as Riverford vegetables are great, plus they had a paella demonstration by the fish mongers and free food is high up on my list of things to make shops more appealing. I just felt that there were improvements that could have easily made the restaurant excellent rather than just ok. If you eat a lot of vegetables, a Riverford veg box is definitely one to consider, and you can choose the frequency and size of box you want to suit you. It’s worth a visit if you’re passing and are low on fruit and veg, but I wouldn’t be rushing to go back again for breakfast any time soon.