Located on a hillside with seriously stunning views out across the countryside of Saddleworth, Albion Farm Shop boasts a spectacular spot to feast on local goodies while admiring the views. The farm shop has won plenty of admirers who enjoy the drive out through some of Greater Manchester’s most spectacular scenery with the reward of hearty home-made food at the end.
The farm shop and cafe are all based on a working farm in Delph, and over the years the family-run business has expanded on the cafe and shop business as demand from customers has increased. It now boasts a hefty array of local produce, fresh fruit and vegetables and a huge cheese counter and butchery inside the converted farm building.
The cafe at the front of the building has been boosted by the addition of an outdoor terrace full of seating. Here diners can truly admire the views out across Delph, Dobcross, Diggle, Greenfield, Scouthead and Lydgate.
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The farm shop has become known for its giant Great British farmer’s breakfast – which is summed up on the menu as: “It’s a beast”. The £12 fry up includes two home-made Olde English sausages, a thick wedge of award-winning black pudding, 2 eggs, 2 hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes and thick slices of toast.
But for those with slightly smaller appetites there is also the “lighter farmer’s breakfast” for £9. And there’s a host of breakfast specials that they serve up, including Eggs Albion Farm which sees layers of their famous black pudding stacked up with sausage meat patties and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce for £9.50.
The hillside farm on Oldham Road in Delph has been owned by the same family, the Hirsts, since Ernest Hirst bought it from a relative back in the early 1900s. I have kept a large number of poultry, supplying eggs to shops all over the Oldham area.
Ernest’s son Sidney and wife Lillian and their young son David continued the farming tradition, with Lillian selling eggs from the farm door for years until the first shop was opened on the site in 2007. Now David and his wife Annette run the farm while their daughter Laura continues in the family tradition by managing the farm shop.
The farm shop itself is a veritable treasure trove of local and artisan goods, with the main shop space boasting a huge range of bread, cakes, biscuits, fine wines, jams and pickles. There are also quirky gifts and a cabinet of locally-made brownies, blondies and muffins.
Further into the shop there are the well-stocked cheese counters and fresh-made pies which the business has become known for. Then there’s the butchery, run by head butcher Gavin Pittman on site, with staff all wearing traditional uniforms of checked shirts with quirky flat caps.
They sell home-reared pedigree beef and mutton from their own farm, as well as locally-reared free range pork. The butcher’s counter is also famous for its range of home-made sausages, including an award-winning black treacle and spring onion variety.
Outside you can pick up an ice cream from another of Oldham’s foodie success stories – Grandpa Greene’s. The ice cream makers, who are known for their canal-side ice cream parlor and café just down the road in Diggle, supply a range of their best-selling flavors to the farm shop which are sold in a dedicated space outside the farm shop.
While the site is open to all to attend, a word of warning for those with pram-aged kids. The cafe has a warning sign that “No prams” are allowed past the main entrance.
Bosses say they are able to accommodate carry cots/car seats for younger children, but due to “health and safety” are not able to allow wheeled prams on the wooden terrace which is the main access way into the farm shop café.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.