The ordinary little village with a giant food hall that’s one of the UK’s best
A village in Essex boasts one of the country’s finest food halls offering local products and delicious daily cakes.
Poplar Nurseries garden centre in Marks Tey, six miles west of Colchester, includes a 3,000sq ft food hall which serves a wide variety of artisan delicacies and deli offerings along with fresh fish from Wivenhoe and Billingsgate Fish Market in London.
Its doors opened in 2010 as Poplar Nurseries’ farm shop, but growing demand saw its shelves fill even further with products from local growers, farmers and food producers.
It later moved into a purpose built building next door to the garden centre, which opened its Christmas showroom on Saturday (September 30).
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The food hall stocks brands including Linden Lady, Carron Lodge, Stokes, Shaken Udder, Cottage Delight, Tiptree, Farmer Brown’s, Maldon Salt Company, Adnams Southwold, The Little Fish Company Kelvedon and Cartwright & Butler.
Its delicious offerings saw the business shortlisted for the title of Best Food Hall in East Anglia in The Farm Shop and Deli Retailer Awards 2023.
Poplar Nurseries says: “Supporting local producers in the surrounding area, our Food Hall houses everything from a larger selection of local fruit and veg, fresh fish and a variety of delicious treats in the deli, through to an increased number of goods from small batch British food and drink suppliers.”
It adds: “Drop by to see all the produce we stock and get your hands on our homemade options, including cakes, baked goods, ready meals and much more.”
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Poplar Nurseries also has a restaurant, with Tripadvisor reviewers rating it among the top 10 places for a quick bite to eat in Colchester, according to Essex Live.
Rated 3.5 overall on Tripadvisor, 124 out of 301 online reviews rate the eatery as “excellent” with a further 64 giving a “very good” rating.
The latest verdict, posted two weeks ago to date by a person who has written 94 Tripadvisor reviews, reads: “All the food was excellent. The coleslaw that accompanied the spuds I could have had as a meal in itself.
“The milkshakes (were the) best we have had outside of Disney Florida (yes they were good). And the cake…? Yes (we) had to wrap it up and takeaway to eat later whilst (my) wife moaned about me”.
The review ends with a vow to return, praising the “great food and service”.
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