Filed in Family & Lifestyle
on July 9, 2011 with 2 comments
For anyone out there still clinging to the false notion that you need to be in an urban hub to enjoy great food, culture or year round activity, I am so pleased to introduce you to the ever-expanding Muddy Boots Farm Shop.
Sign that you will see from the road - turn right immediately!
Although the Samson family has been farming right here in the wee village of Balmalcolm outside Cupar for at least five generations (that they can remember), Muddy Boots is a very recent development. It began in the summer of 2003 with a bumper crop of raspberries that unfortunately coincided with their long-standing order from a major British supermarket being slashed by more than half – eeks. The family quickly rallied and sold the excess bounty from a road side tent.
Bright, Fresh, Well-stocked & Welcoming Farm Shop
The next year the tent was replaced by a poly tunnel and the year after that a small structure. Each year brought more success and a bigger audience until in 2007 when the first part of the current structure began, to take shape to accommodate the needs of a top end Farm Shop. Selling their own produce, berries and eggs, they also stock other local artisan and farm shop products. The term “Farm Shop” is in the works to receive its own legal and commercial definition but for now it had gone from only selling your own goods from your own farm to a larger “direct from farm” network.
Free Range chickens with practical guidance on viewing
Generally, when you see the term “free range eggs” on a carton there is a little bit of an internal assumption of “well, I’ll take your word for it”, but at Muddy Boots you get to experience just how free that range can be (with fences being a bit hypothetical at times). Not only can you come and visit the various hens as they hang out with each other, some ducks and a goat or two, but you can see their workout zone.
"Goat Mountain" Chicken Run for Maximum Poultry Pleasure
Granted there was a whole lot more snoozing and taking of dirt baths when I visited but it is nice to know it is there if they want a climb.
Air Pillow Madness
But fresh produce and eggs aside – here is why you really come to Muddy Boots – for the fun! Rarely do you come across any business where you get the feeling that the proprietors have walked around in their customer’s shoes and thought,”what could we provide that would offer the most variety and fun for any category of customer that we might serve?”. At Muddy Boots there is a decidedly un-corporate or formulaic feel that literally offers something for everyone (and seems to be growing all the time).
Bargain Prices for A Great Adventure
They offer a variety of very affordable activities from a little kids play area, to the larger big kid zone.
- Big Kid Play Area
To a converted barn with a soft play area.
- Indoor(ish) Soft Play
To a very creative and hugely enjoyable for the kids Duck Race course.
- The Duck Races
And when your dear ones are properly worn out (mission accomplished) then it is time for lunch, if you can make it past the ice cream window selling Cream O’ Galloway goodness. As we had dairy-intolerant toddler with us we sadly had to pass on this but for anyone else be sure to hit it on your way out!
Ready for Lunch
Now your only problem is trying to decide where you feel like dining.
Outdoor Seating at Muddy Boots
Depending on how hearty you feel there is a beautiful outdoor patio, or maybe
"For Seasons" Cafe at Muddy Boots
you would rather to take in the atmosphere and the view of the interior of the Seasons Cafe.
Open Wood-Burning Central Fireplace surrounded by leather sofas and newspapers - Divine
But this is what really rings my bell, the wood burning fireplace to enhance the already fantastic ambiance and take the chill of a summer storm or provide a cosy hang our for a winter’s day. I have had the privilege of attending an evening meeting here and was able to see – all in one night thanks to our mercurial weather – a glorious sunset over the hills, a thunderstorm, and a fresh sparkling summer’s eve all fresh from the storm. I assure you the fireplace was a welcome addition to the whole event.
"Paint your Own Pottery" area
Now, if your head is not yet spinning from the produce, outdoor activities or dining, you could while away the rest of your visit painting your own pottery to be fired on site. This is available on a drop in basis or you can schedule a party – kids, grownups or fund-raisers with a per head fee.
Free Range Community Hub
These are only the things that are here on any old day you happen to pay a visit. Muddy Boots has a burgeoning schedule of plays, seasonal activities, parties, events and performances on a pre-booking basis. As I left it occurred to me that Muddy Boots is a leading example of how these venues are becoming the hubs and hearts of these rural communities. Where once maybe gatherings would be held in a church or a school, these larger ”countryprenuer” outlets can provide jobs, entertainment and space to gather for locals and day visitors alike.
One last thing, it is located on the 914 en route to St. Andrews and only 3 miles from Falkirk Palace. If you are travelling to or from these places this is a fab rest stop to stretch your legs and stock up for dinner!
PS Not an advert just a shout out from me- thanks, J.