In very unprepossessing Tenbury Road in Bromyard, Herefordshire, we have found a treasure, and like all great finds, we want to tell The Foodie Bugle readers.
Passing through the old fashioned town centre, with all its really interesting independent retailers, you would be forgiven for thinking that Bromyard desperately needed a really good food hall, somewhere to showcase all the wonderful food artisans of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. Well, it exists, but you may have to ask a local how to find it. Cleverly tucked away from the main hustle and bustle of the thoroughfare, there is plenty of parking in front and the modern shop has the sort of square footage that the older, listed high street purveyors could only dream of.
One step into Legges and you will not know where to look first. From left to right, straight ahead and to the side there is a wealth of really excellent, well sourced, well produced local food, presented in the sort of manner that you would find in every other Continental town butchery and delicatessen or greengrocer, but is, alas, becoming increasingly rare in many parts of provincial Britain.
Anthony Legge, the owner, comes from 100 years and five generations of farming stock and his philosophy is rooted in the soil, the hand made and the nurtured. This is the business’s philosophy:
“Our passion is the past. The real England that is sometimes hard to find. Tracking down the best food there is from farmers and producers who care with traditional recipes made in time honoured ways using ancient skills.”
Meat comes from within a 12 mile radius and is butchered in-house. Hereford and Angus Shorthorn beef is locally slaughtered and matured for 28 days. Milk comes from nearby Bartonsham Dairy, Yoghurt from The Dairy House in Weobly, juices from Ledbury, bread from local Lammings bakery and jams are made by Anthony’s aunt Fiona.
You will find a wealth of different types of perry, ciders, apple juice, wines and lemonades, as well as different flavoured oils to taste, homemade pies, local cheeses and even local papers and magazines. This is a community hub: housewives come in with baskets tucked under their arm; the staff share a joke or two with regulars; you can taste a slither of this and a slice of that before you buy and the atmosphere is very much of a spotless, chic, friendly and bustling foodie store.
The fresh fruit and vegetables are amongst the best you will ever see, displayed beautifully in wicker baskets. You could, very easily, do your supper party shopping only here. Yes, of course you will have to pay more than supermarket prices because such a small shop will not have the buying power of a major retailer, but what a joy and a delight it is to find such a business standing proud and beautiful in these challenging economic times.
Legges of Bromyard is an exemplary business lesson: community, local, family, artisanal food shops can survive and succeed under the right management. Discerning shoppers do support this sort of enterprise, evidently, and they probably drive from far and wide to make full use of it. Take note ye middle class, middle aged, middle England market towns in decline. Legges is a flagship entry in the Herefordshire cannon of foodie finds, and long may they prosper.
Legges of Bromyard
Herefordshire HR7 4LW
Telephone: 01885 482417