Winner of Best Cotswold Menu 2015 at the Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards 2015, Gloucester Services Farm Shop and Kitchen is unlike any other motorway services you’ve seen. Known for supporting local producers and community partnerships, as well as an outstanding menu, Rebecca McGilvray, brand & communications manager, tells us more about what you can find there.
1. Tell us about Gloucester Services, your team and what a visit to the Farm Shop and Kitchen is like.
Gloucester Services is unique on the motorway network. We don’t think good local food should be the preserve of elite shops but accessible and affordable to all and therefore we believe we are bringing good, homemade food to the motorway network whilst supporting both local farmers and producers and our local communities. Through our partnership with Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, we hope to bring about a completely new way in which business and charity can work together. The community partnership is key to everything our business does.
2. You’ve just scooped the Best Cotswold Menu award. What does this accolade mean to you?
The award is a real honor. To be recognised in such a great foodie area is fantastic for our business. Gloucestershire and indeed the Cotswolds are arguably unrivalled in terms of the fantastic produce made here. We work with over 130 suppliers within 30 miles of our site and we’re proud to be bringing their products to a wider audience travelling the motorway.
3. How important is it to have a menu featuring local produce?
Hugely important to us. Showcasing the great talent from the local area is key to our values and we’re proud to highlight great local produce in our kitchen and our farmshop.
4. Do you have a signature dish on the menu?
Our menu changes seasonally so we can make the most of the best produce available at the time. However we do serve burgers in our kitchen that are made in our very own on site butchery.
5. Are there any emerging trends that you’re introducing into your shop and onto your menu?
For Christmas we are stocking local turkeys that are available to pre-order in store. They come from our next-door neighbors at Pound Farm. We have a whole range of fantastic products available for Christmas including a box of chocolates made by local supplier ‘Lick the Spoon’, created in collaboration with our buyers that will be sold over for the festive period. Thinking about the New Year, we’re already excited about spring lamb from our butchery!
6. Who or what inspires you and the way you run your business?
We love finding out about other local businesses but we always aim to do things a little differently and really feel that our unique approach is what sets our business apart. We’re inspired by our suppliers and their stories, some of our favourites include Godsells cheese, Cinderhill Farm and Jess’s Ladies.
7. What sorts of drinks do you stock in the farm shop and what are your bestsellers?
We stock a huge range of local beers and ales. Of course we stock great ciders as we are located close to the cider making heartland. We particularly like Pilton’s keeved Somerset cider, made using a very traditional method. For Christmas we also have Williams sloe and mulberry gin and our own range of ales and a stout made in collaboration with Stroud Brewery.
8. Do you think people are surprised to find an independent farm shop and kitchen on the motorway?
Yes, customers are often surprised, often overwhelmed, when it’s not what they’re expecting!
9. Why do you think your business has become so successful?
It brings something completely different to the motorway but our aim is really quite simple - we want customers to have access to real food, done well. Our services is designed to be a real break from the motorway and I think customers truly appreciate that stance.
10. What’s your fruit juice personality?
It’d have to be apple as its local and traditional and we’re very much of our place.