Enterprise and Risk
Not afraid to take a risk, and on something akin to a 'build it and they will come' approach, the enterprising Honesty Group have recently set up shop (actually both cafe and grocery store) in a farmyard on the outskirts of small, quiet, out-of-the-way Dummer village, about seven miles southwest of Basingstoke.
This is an unexpectedly clever location – providing a much-needed amenity for villagers as well as a great stop off for travellers (it’s easily accessible from Junction 7 of the M3). Within days of launching there was already a steady stream of customers - among them locals in wellies, walkers with young kiddies popped into carrier rucksacks, and men in lycra (aka serious cyclists).
It is certainly a destination café. The contemporary barn-style structure has a chic rustic meets urban look. There are deep leather sofas and a woodburning stove for cosier days, as well as a terrace with country views for al fresco breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas.
Everything is made in the kitchen on-site – including breakfasts, lunches and kids’ menu. Best of all is the rural grocery store in part of the original farm buildings. This is a new twist on the farm shop. People can pop in for a coffee or bite to eat, or to pick up their bread (the Honesty Group’s origins are as a bakery and people can order their daily bread and crosissant online), and then stock up on essentials and goodies from the grocery store. There's a wide range from dog treats to dried flowers, cheeses such as Tunworth (made by the Hampshire Cheese Company which is local to Dummer, sustainably grown Spelt Flour from Wheatsheaf Farming (another local business), plus fresh fruit and vegetables, real ales, and butter and milk direct from the dairy.
Others keen to discover the 'new local', should take a look. Opening hours are seven days a week, 8am-4pm, and you'll find the cafe and grocery store in the farm buildings off Dummer Down Lane.
Read more about Wheatsheaf Farming and its regenerative agricultural practices HERE.
Find out about Hamsphire Cheese Company's latest wins in the Artisan Cheese Awards HERE.
All photographs copyright Alex Smith.