It’s finally happened. This Monday saw the grand opening of The Countrymen’s Club with a glass of cider and a song or two.
We got hold of Bonny Sartin, he of The Yetties fame, who had all the old boys singing alone to a few classics. As well as the entertainment, the local food and farming industry came together to give us all a taste of their wares. The Countrymen (not to mention the staff…) had a great time sampling the produce of Framptons of Bridport, the Dorset Blue Soup Co., West Milton Cider Company, and Lawrence’s Cider. And we mustn’t forget a wonderful fruit cake supplied by Ivan!
The event gave us a chance to meet with some of the referrers that we hope to be seeing a lot more of in the future. It was great to finally put faces to all the countless emails and phone calls we’ve been making over the last few weeks! We got to meet with RABI South West, the Farm Crisis Network, Kingston Maurward College, Age UK Dorchester, Dorset Fire & Rescue Service, and the Dorset Partnership for Older People Programme (POPP).
We hope we were able to demonstrate to them the unique ethos of The Countrymen’s Club and what it can offer. All of the activities that the countrymen get involved in are chosen by themselves. A lot of these hark back to days gone by. Earlier this month we were all busy making thumbsticks from wood cut from our hedges, while the men have also been restoring an old feed grinder as well as planting some winter kale, onions, radishes and kohlrabi. While some men really enjoy getting stuck in whatever the weather, others like the reminiscences that come from the sights and smells of the farmyard.
Our new friends
Framptons of Bridport – Frampton’s of Bridport have gained the reputation of being one of the leading retail and catering butchers and delicatessen in West Dorset. Frampton’s is a business that’s been built by the very highest quality products backed-up with customer service that’s second to none. The shop is open between 8am and 5pm every Monday to Saturday and you can also shop online.
Dorset Blue Soup Co. – Based at Woodbridge Farm in the heart of Dorset, the Dorset Blue Soup Co. produces Dorset Blue Vinney Cheese, Dorset Blue Soups, and a range of chutneys and pickles. They produce all of the River Cottage Soups on the farm and their produce has won many awards including the Taste of Dorset Award. You can shop online and they stock some great ideas for Christmas.
West Milton Cider – The home of the award-winning Lancombe Rising Cider and a traditional barreled cider known as West Dorset Real Cider. Lancombe Rising is a natural sparkling cider made through the old method of keeving: a method still popular in Normandy and Brittany, but almost forgotten here. You can buy the cider locally in around Bridport.
Lawrence’s Cider – Based in Corton Denham, near Sherborne, John Lawrence produces traditional cider that can be found at The Queen’s Arms in Corton Denham and elsewhere.