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Salad crops, heritage vegetables and farm shop life at Secretts of Milford

Secretts of Milford is home to one of Surrey’s best farm shops and is a leading grower of salad crops and heritage vegetables for restaurants, pubs and their loyal customers. Here we meet farm shop manager Viv Ellis to learn more about their growing story.


Known as one of the leading growers of salad crops and heritage vegetables in the country, Secretts of Milford, located just to the south-west of Godalming, has been supplying the local community, and beyond, since 1938.

While it’s fair to say they have seen a few changes over the years, what hasn’t changed on this family-run farm is their dedication to producing the highest-quality fresh produce – which is also used by some of the leading restaurants across the region.

“The farm here has a long and prestigious heritage of which we are very proud,” says farm shop manager Viv Ellis. “In fact, during World War Two, this was the highest-yielding farm in the country.

“As a result, the gentleman in charge at the time, F.A.Secrett, was invited to be on the Ministry of Food, so that he could advise others as well. He was a great horticulturalist, and very meticulous in his techniques, and those skills have been passed down the generations ever since.”

The freshest produce

Today on their 150-acre farm, they grow everything from baby carrots and heritage beets to soft fruits, as well as eight varieties of salad leaves. Offering a pick-to-order policy, they wash and pack on the same day as the delivery, in order to provide the freshest, most nutritious produce for their customers.

In addition, they have also introduced their popular pick-your-own fields (check the website for what’s in season) and then there is their award-winning farm shop. Running for almost 50 years, this flagship food store – located in the former cart-horse stables – is regarded as one of the best gourmet destinations in the region.

“We are very much a proper traditional farm shop, in a lovely atmospheric setting, and we pride ourselves on making the experience all about food,” says Viv. “From our delicious range of cheeses to gluten-free treats to speciality vegan-burgers, we really do have something for all tastes.

“We are also very passionate about using local produce, and as well as all the products grown here on the farm, we stock quite a number of local suppliers. For example, our wonderful pies are made here in the village by Carolyn, and then our amazing cakes and tarts come from Crosbies, just a mile down the road in Wormley.”

Gourmet destination 

In addition to the farm shop itself, there is also an on-site butcher, where you can buy free-range meats, and a well-stocked English wine merchant. Plus, they have recently added an impressive craft beer collection featuring over a hundred Surrey-based and national craft breweries. Then there’s the craft gin collection, too, featuring four award-winning tipples made within a two-mile radius.

Next up, they are planning to enhance their eco-credentials by investing in large-scale ‘gravity feeders’, which work on the same principle as a pub optic and remove the need for any packaging. They will also be supplying reusable calico bags for customers to take their goods home.

“We are very proud of the fact that we have been very environmentally aware here for a number of years – and long before it became fashionable,” says Viv. “For example, we have always stocked loose spices and herbs as well as currants and sultanas etc. Also, we have always encouraged our customers to buy only what they need – down to one peppercorn or one bayleaf.

“Now, with our new containers, we will be building on all of this with many more products in loose form – from a wide variety of rices, lentils and seeds to pet foods such as dog biscuits. All of this means that we can also buy in bulk, which means less transport as well as less packaging, so it’s a win all-round.”

On top of all this, the farm is also home to Eliza’s Tearoom, where you can enjoy a delicious meal or a slice of cake. Then there is Milford farmers’ market every month.

Last but by no means least, the extensive grounds are also the perfect place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll, and there is free car parking available onsite.

Tags: farming vegetables salad farm shop

Pack your bags

Secretts Farm Shop, which opened in 1977, is renowned for its cheese counter, with over 300 different varieties stocked and this is complemented by an eclectic range of confectionary, preserves, biscuits, artisan breads and cooking ingredients. Expect a great range of fresh and local produce (when in season) which includes those legendary home-grown salad leaves.