Odds Farm Park has introduced fresh and local food and a brilliant new play area to boot. We headed over to this favourite destination of families in Bucks, Berk, Herts and beyond to get the low down.
Food gets fresh and local
I often speak to fellow parents about their favourite days out with the kids and while many places offer good entertainment, comments are often made that they’re let down by poor quality food offered. In an age when we’re more keenly aware than ever of both what we and our children are eating, food that’s processed, frozen and deep-fried simply doesn’t cut it anymore.
When Odds Farm collected feedback from visitors, the clear message was that they needed to improve their catering. They set about doing just that; completely refitting the kitchens, hiring chefs and sourcing food from local producers. Impressive on paper, I was keen to see how this all looked and most importantly, tasted.
When we first visited the farm a couple of years ago, the food on offer was similar to other family-friendly destinations; it filled empty tummies but didn’t excite. In contrast, what was served to us on this latest visit came from an entirely different league of cooking and featuring the sort of culinary credentials you’d normally hope to find at quality independent cafe.
Certainly everything I sampled from the menu was at the top of its class for family days out. The quiche was light and fresh and featured onion chutney that set the flavour alive, the beef burgers were wonderfully moist and the macaroni cheese was set off with a hint of horseradish.
As for something sweet, I was keen to try the signature marmalade ice cream and wasn’t disappointed. Next up, the blueberry muffin provided flavour from the fresh fruit rather than the excess of sugar relied upon in mass produce muffins elsewhere. As for the super rich chocolate cake, well, let’s just say it lived up to its name and if you’re looking for a treat, that’s the one to go for.
Introducing Marmalade’s Tea Rooms
At the heart of the Odds Farm’s new food offering is Marmalade’s Tea Rooms, replacing the previous cafe, which certainly looks the part. Here’s a look to whet your appetite:As a foodie I love local produce, which as well as supporting nearby businesses often have a lot more love and attention put into them and taste all the better for it. Odds Farm say they’re committed to using UK sourced food using free range, organic, ethical, fair trade and produce, which ticks a lot of boxes in my book. Some of the produce is impressively local, such as eggs from Challen’s Chicks Farm in Cookham (5 miles away) and ice cream from Hitcham Dairies in Burnham (3 miles away).
What I really like about the new menu is that it has delivered on the quality us parents crave while keeping eating out affordable. Main meals are mostly £4.25 for children and around £6 – 7 for adults. I don’t know about you but I’ve paid a good deal more than that for some pretty mediocre fare elsewhere.
I think it’s brilliant that Odds Farm has upped its game with its food offering. On our previous visit I brought a picnic as I recalled the uninspiring food from our first visit. Next time going to the Marmalade Tea Rooms is going to be a treat as part of our day out and I know ShireMum is going to love the Halloumi Cheese Burger!
New adventure playground
An unexpected surprise from our visit was to find a large portion of the adventure playground had been replaced since our visit earlier this year.
The old playground wasn’t shabby by any means but this latest development, which opened in May, has taken the area previously used by an area for younger children and an often soggy sand pit and dramatically transformed it.
The climbing houses are really well designed with rope bridges but featuring a wooden bottom for younger children who find the wobbly steps too tricky.
Activities for younger children are still very much present with swings, smaller play houses and fun wooden animals to ride, while a new sandpit with diggers complements the main sandpit nicely.
Several school groups were at the farm during our visit and it was clear that the new play area is a hit with older primary school aged children too.
It’s always incredibly positive to see popular family destinations being invested in to keep them attractive to children and parents alike.
For me Odds Farm has tackled the top two issues that would have been in my mind when considering a visit, namely, quality food to complete a special day out and enough activities to keep my daughter entertained for the day. In case you’re in any doubt about this, we arrived as doors opened at 10am and left at 4pm, three-year-old Tilly having finally running out of energy but still with plenty more to do. An excellent day out.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a tasting selection from the new menu and entry to the farm. All opinions are my own.
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