The problem is that as much as I do want to sneer at the earnestness of the whole enterprise I do like knowing where my food comes from. What’s more the food at the Farm Collective is actually flavoursome and offers a welcome respite from the standard sandwich bars. The Farm Collective is more of a takeaway than an eat in sort of place with only a small selection of wooden benches at the front and back of the tiny store. Still, they do provide generous jugs of tap water and even copies of the paper to make your dine in experience a little more enjoyable.
Display fridges contain pre-made salads and sandwiches or you can queue at the counter to order a limited selection of hot food. From the salad selection the Chunky Dorset and Westcombe Farm Ploughmans comes in a cardboard container filled with a few rolled slices of free range ham, slices of cheddar, a dollop of coleslaw, grapes, lettuce and slices of apple. The Ploughmans is served with some crusty bread and at £4 is a welcome change from standard salads.
The Chunky Dorset and Westcombe Farm Ploughmans
Salmon fishcakes at £4.50 for two are plucked from the pie warmer and served in another cardboard container together with a handful of fresh lettuce leaves which the friendly staff select from a large bowl in the middle of the counter. The fishcakes themselves are a bit of a disappointment as despite looking the business with a lovely golden bread crumbed exterior they err on the side of too dry. I suspect the time they have spent in the pie warmer may be to blame.
All this emphasis on provenance and rustic flavours comes at the higher end of the scale for the typical office lunch crowd. Ordering the pie and mash will set you back £6 before you even think about a drink or afternoon snack. That said, who can put a price on the smug feeling that you will enjoy as you munch on your freshly made, preservative free, charity friendly and proudly British lunch.