If there is one thing better than mooching around a farm shop on a Sunday afternoon, it’s finding you can eat Sunday lunch under the same roof.
Arrow Farm is one place where I had this very epiphany, only last weekend.
The farm shop is just off the A614 at Steetley, between Worksop and Whitwell.
Turn off the main road and you find yourself on a working farm where Marfona potatoes are grown by the thousand.
The Blagg family have been farming and growing potatoes for more than 50 years, and they diversified to set up Arrow Farm Shop in 1991.
It’s a welcoming place, set inside a large converted agricultural barn - the modern, steel-built kind, not an old-fashioned wooden structure.
All manner of delicious foods and drinks are on sale in the homely farm shop, from fresh, locally grown fruit, veg and meats, to bread, cakes and even Retford’s famous Thaymar ice cream.
But it was into the spacious, bright and airy cafe/diner that we ventured on our visit.
I had heard great things about Arrow Farm’s Sunday lunches. So once we were greeted and seated by our friendly waitress, I grabbed the menu and had my eye on the prize.
The cafe wasn’t heaving with people, but had a good few tables occupied by couples and families enjoying a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea.
I was pleased we were sat near the window, which occupies two sides of the building providing a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
There was lots to choose from on the menu. Lunchtime snacks included sandwiches from £5.50, paninis and wraps from £5.95, hot and cold baguettes from £6.95, baked potatoes from £5.25.
Then there were daytime bites like beer battered fish and chips (£8.75), Arrow Farm burger and sausage and mash (both £8.95).
Children’s portions are also available.
A specials menu featured such tasty treats as gammon, egg and pineapple (£8.95), turkey stir-fry (£8.75) and peppered tuna steak (£8.95).
But it was the roast sirloin of beef (£8.95) that I was after. And Liam chose the scampi (£8.95).
We were also tempted by Fentiman’s old fashioned glass-bottled fizzy drinks. Dandilion and burdock for me, ginger beer for him.
After a brief mix-up with the kitchen in which we were told there was no scampi left and had to choose an alternative, Liam ended up with the scampi after all - confusing but pleasing nonetheless.
He said the scampi was crispy on the outside with tender fishy morsels inside. It was served with hand cut Marfona potatoes and garden peas.
The chips, he said, were a bit dry but still tasty. And the peas were as fresh as if they had just been picked.
My roast looked and tasted sublime. Several slices of thick sirloin beef adorned my plate. It was the most succulent and tender roast beef I’ve ever had. Mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and peas accompanied it.
And, of course, a huge homemade Yorkshire pudding. This pud was the real deal - crispy and golden. I poured over the thick, glistening gravy and tucked in.
We were too full for dessert but grabbed a brownie from the farm shop to take home. It was the perfect partner to a cup of tea.
There are special seasonal menus coming up at Arrow Farm Cafe, celebrating Farmhouse Breakfast Week, Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day and more. I recommend a visit.