‘A novel experience for Norwich’ - Why you should visit White House Farm if you haven’t already
- Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017
When you think White House Farm, you might think Pick Your Own, but the business on Salhouse Road in Rackheath has so much more to offer its customers than just fruit.
From humble beginnings as a shed in the middle of a field to the launch of a successful farm shop, cafe and butchers, White House Farm has been completely transformed by owners Oliver and Charlotte Gurney.
The husband and wife team, who live on site with their 18-month-old daughter, took over the farm in 2013 after Oliver returned from a six year stint in the Royal Marines.
Together the pair have worked tirelessly to expand the business into an all-year-round foodie haven, hosting various events and building up a strong set of loyal customers.
Mrs Gurney, 33, said: 'We started off as a place where people could just come to pick their own fruit and we were overwhelmed by how many people wanted to come and do that.
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'The changes were made gradually, with the addition of a little tea and cake hut in the field first. This took off and quickly morphed into the cafe you see today. Then we opened the farm shop and two years ago we added the butchery.
'Most recently in the last year we converted a courtyard of barns that we have on site and these have been filled by various local businesses, including a beauty salon, hairdresser, a florist, a dance studio, children's nursery, ladies clothing store and a gift shop.
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'It's been an incredible four years, lots of change and evolution. We've got a lot going on with all of it, but it's just such a wonderful place to be. I look at other farm shops and I can't help but think we're a novel experience for Norwich - you can go from the city to the countryside in minutes and it's like a little oasis here.'
The farm shop is well stocked with local produce, from vegetables grown by Fresh Approach in Aylsham to sauces, pastas, pestos and local ales. However there are two things in particular the Gurney's are especially proud to sell.
The first is milk from Norton's Dairy in Frettenham, which is served in every single cup of tea and coffee sold in the cafe. Charlotte believes this makes them 'one of the few places in the county to bring that kind of integrity to a cup of coffee.'
The other is their award-winning pork sausages, which were recently named the best in Norfolk at the Norwich Food & Drink Festival's Battle of the Bangers competition.
'Battle of the Bangers was a massive milestone for us,' said Mrs Gurney. 'It was the first time we had ever entered as we only established our butchery a short time ago but our lead butcher Stephen Taylor has been a fantastic addition to our team, bringing with him a wealth of experience and knowledge.'
She added: 'I had no idea quite how challenging the competition would be - not only do you have to be a great butcher but you also have to be a wonderful salesman and be able to talk about your produce. Stephen is exceptionally good at that, so we thought we'd give it a go.
'We knew our sausages were great as we sell an awful lot of them. We offer about 10 plus flavours in the shop but we chose to take our traditional pork sausages along as we thought that was what people would want and I guess we were right!'
White House Farm went up against eight other butchers in the competition, in which the public samples different sausages and votes for their favourite. Attendees voted in the masses for White House Farm, a moment Charlotte describes as being a real 'pat on the back' for Steve and all his hard work.
To celebrate their win, Charlotte has shared a recipe for White House Farm pork sausage pasta, one of the farmer's favourite's and a great way to hide the greens for their little one:
8 Award winning pork sausages
500 grams Tenuata Marmorelle pasta (Gluten free options available)
100 grams of our smallest broad beans
100 grams of shelled peas.
1 Nortons soft cheese
1.5 Nortons cream
Optional, a dash of yohurt
A handful of parmesan
A handful of thyme/chives
A touch of olive oil
Seasoning to taste.
Roast your sausages in the oven until crispy and good to eat.
Boil the water for the pasta, and in a second pan boil water and cook the peas and broad beans until good to eat.
Once sausages are almost there, start cooking your pasta. When cooked, drain and add the peas, broad beans, chopped herbs, soft cheese, cream and Parmesan.
Add the sliced sausages and a dash of yoghurt - heat through and you're ready to serve.
• White House Farm is open from 9am to 5pm from Tuesday to Saturday and 10am until 4pm on Sundays, closed on Mondays.