Real Food is an innovative example of an alternative retail business- giving Exeter the opportunity to change the way it shops! Real Food has come a long way since it was initiated by Transition Exeter in March 2009. At that point a group of people wanted to create a dynamic food hub in the city and set about making it happen. This led to Real Food, the trading name of Exeter Local Food Ltd, a Community Benefit Society. The Company was Incorporated under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 and registered with the Financial Services Authority in December 2009. At the same time a key workshop entitled ‘An appetite for local food’ was being organised by Transition Exeter. The conclusions of the workshop gave further endorsement to the identified need for access to locally produced food & for retail outlets in the city.
Emma’s Bread is real bread made by Emma and her excellent team at their new bakery “The Boatyard Bakery” down on Exeter Quay, next to Exeter Cookery School. Bread is delivered straight from the ovens, by bicycle, to the shop first thing in the morning.
The bakers use traditional methods, resulting in a flavour and texture of bread to satisfy the stomach and the soul. Specialities include rye, white and seedy sourdoughs, and ever changing seasonal fare. Their aim is to make real bread, using traditional methods and organically grown products where available. They do not use flour or product improvers. They use Shipton Mill organic flours for all their bread and bakery products. Although they use a dough mixer, every loaf is weighed out and shaped by hand- a time consuming but rewarding process.
We work closely with Shillingford Organics, a family farm located on the outskirts of Exeter, near the village of Shillingford Abbot, 3 miles to the West of the store. Shillingford Organics supply most of our vegetables, picking and delivering them on a daily basis to ensure ultimate freshness! We also get seasonal, local salads and bags of wild foraged greens from Hilltown Organics, out at Okehampton, along with punnets of soft fruits in the summer. Additionally, we are on occasion supplied with seasonal vegetables by Exeter Growers Co-operative.
Where certain vegetables are not available within the immediate locality at certain times of year, then we purchase organically from the nearest supplier (usually Riverford). The tomato is an example of fresh produce considered a staple that we aim to supply year round; we will sell Shillingford’s own grown tomatoes when in season & supply organic tomatoes, usually from Spain via Riverford, when local ones are not available.
Many of our larder goods are supplied by worker cooperatives Essential, Suma and Infinity Foods. We source other dried foods from a number of excellent local producer-suppliers. We aim to be a true alternative to the supermarkets, and you will find everything from pasta, oils, rice and lentils to flour, sugar, dried fruit, nuts and seeds on our shelves. We source organic products where available, and do not air-freight any of our food.
In our Queen Street shop we will now be stocking a range of dried larder products in customer accessible dispensers. Food such as oats, rice, pasta, dried beans, pulses, cereal and other items can weighed into your own empty containers and then you only need to pay for the weight that you want. This means less packaging and less food waste! If you have forgotten to bring your own containers we will have paper bags and glass containers to buy.
Eggs & Dairy
We sell high quality local, organic milk that is non-homogenised so the cream rises to the top just like it used to! You have the choice of using the cream or giving the milk a good shake first. The fat content in milk will vary according to many factors such as quality of the grass at different times of year. Click here for more information on homogenising.
Devon is fortunate to have a number of artisan cheese makers who have been reviving traditional cheese making- successfully and to great acclaim, and we have a wide range of locally produced cheeses.
We sell both free-range and organic eggs, and ensure that all of our producers have high welfare standards. You can find more information about our dairy and egg producers on our blog and in-store.
Meat & Fish
We offer a good range of local sourced, sustainably reared and high quality meat & fish from farmers and producers mostly working within 20 miles of Exeter. Animal welfare is very important to us: we sell organic meat wherever possible because this guarantees optimum welfare standards, and that they are fed organic (GM free) feed, which in turn promotes the health and vitality of the animals. Some free-range farmers, who aren’t registered as organic, are still rearing to high welfare and environmental standards. We source from them when we have visited their farm and have seen their production methods. We are working on updating our information in store, and on-line, with more detail and photos of our farm visits so look out for these on the Blog section of our website.
We have a small range of eco-friendly household products, including cleaning supplies and kitchen essentials. We also have an ever-growing range of toiletries and sanitary products from both local producers, and larger, ethical producers.
Beer, wine & cider
We stock a wide range of local wine, beer and cider (including vegan friendly wine & beer and sulphite free wine). We stock a range of ales from small, craft breweries around Devon and Somerset, and wine from local Devon vineyards.
We have an ever-growing range of dairy, egg, and gluten free products, including snacks, cooking ingredients and luxury items. In the store, you will see blue and red dots on the shelf labels indicating if a product is free from dairy ingredients, and gluten containing ingredients, but please be aware that this does not guarantee that they were produced in an environment that is free from these allergens so always check the labels or talk to a member of staff first if you have a serious allergy.