Meet another great Champion for Edible Norfolk
Who? Sam Bagge, General Manager, Walsingham Farms Shop LLP
What? Two contemporary farm shops based in Little Walsingham and at Norfolk Lavender, Heacham. We have a passion for quality local food and local suppliers. We offer Walsingham farmed meat in our butchery, fantastic homemade products and pies in our deli and a full range of local treats from Walsingham honey to Cley smoked fish! We love local!
Let's find out a little more about our foodie friend Sam...
How long have you lived in Norfolk? If not born here, what brought you here?
I’m Norfolk born and bred and lived here the majority of my life, being a Norwich City College trained chef by trade my job has been good enough to take me around the world on more than one occasion. Roles in London, New York, Australia and Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E have been great experiences. But without doubt the best journey is the one I make to work every day now. I’ve yet to find a place quite like Norfolk with its relaxed way of life, wonderful scenery and foodie delights. It just has that ability to leave you wanting to experience more!
Explain the story behind your business…
Our business, and I say ‘our business’ because we are a big family at heart and a LLP made up of partners of Walsingham Estate and local farmers. We pride ourselves around local food and the wonderful produce Norfolk has to offer delivered with the passion, knowledge and cracking customer service that you would expect to find in the very best shops around the world.
What gets you up in the morning?
The smell of our locally sourced bacon, grilled, please…
Imagine you are speaking to someone who has never been to Norfolk. How would you sum up Norfolk in one sentence?
Rural, welcoming, friendly, untouched and ageless.
List your top five things about Norfolk…
Walsingham Farm Shop, Beaches, Local seafood, Asparagus and The Norfolk Broads.
Norfolk has a 93-mile coastline. Which is your favourite beach and what is so special about it?
Norfolk’s coast line is rich and intriguing; picking a single beach from the 93 mile coast line is a very tricky thing to do. However if I was forced to choose, it would have to be Wells-next-the-Sea. With the pine woodland as a back drop and the multi coloured beach huts along the shore line it has a special sentimental value having spent many a summer's day there as a child, building sandcastles and having numerous adventures in the dunes. It’s a wonderful place to take children and you can see why the royals hold it in such high regard.
If you visited one of the many Norfolk farmers markets, what goodies would you fill your basket with?
Now this is my real area of interest! My shopping basket couldn’t possibly be big enough to hold all of the goodies Norfolk suppliers have to offer but my top five (personally) would be…
1. Walsingham Farm Shop pies, made in our deli kitchen in our Walsingham shop by our pie queen Barbara they are rich full and great value for money. We attend various foodie events throughout Norfolk, Holkham Food and Drink Festival this year is one and our pies go down a treat.
2. Walsingham beef reared and finished at Hill House Farm by James Woodhouse its mouth-watering and the beefiest beef I’ve ever had.
3. Local fresh asparagus, we sell huge amounts through the very short season but it’s wonderful, and definitely the best in the world.
4. Sharrington Strawberries, large plump and the best in Norfolk their flavour is second to none and great for making a Norfolk Strawberry sorbet.
5. Jubberwacky pickles, preserves and mustards. Made by Ali Williams in the heart of Norfolk, I’ve yet to come across a better piccalilli. Everything you could ask for to make that Walsingham roast beef sandwich to life!
What’s your favourite Norfolk tipple and why?
Although I have a great affection for all our wonderful local Ale and beer suppliers - Two Rivers, Grain brewery, Joc’s, Moon Gazer, The Norfolk Brewhouse, Woodfords, Yetmans and Humpty Dumpty Brewery to name a few - the one tipple I must admit I love and buy every Christmas is Black Shuck sole gin. It’s depth of flavour and perfect alcoholic balance sets it apart from other similar sloe gins. Perfect for a cold winter's night tipple.
Where in Norfolk do you like to spread out a blanket and enjoy a hearty picnic whilst soaking up the view?
Although Norfolk is rich with beautiful scenery and areas of natural beauty I would say there is one spot out towards Heacham on the coast overlooking the wash where if you’re up early enough you can sit and eat your Norfolk goodies and watch the migration of geese (December-February) - a spectacle and a real display of what the natural world has to offer.
Norfolk is brimming with history and culture. What’s your favourite heritage building/site and what’s so special about it?
I would have to say working in Walsingham on a daily basis and being lucky enough to see the old Abbey and surrounding grounds on a weekly basis. It looks phenomenal early morning, at sun set, in the snow or in bright sunshine. For those who love history and old English culture it’s a must visit along with the museum.
To find out more visit their website.