Rare Moths sighted at Otter Plymouth

Otter team member Chris Vincent has had some amazing results moth sighting at our Plymouth garden centre, follow the story and updates here

Otter Plymouth Moth Project – Otter Garden Centres

Ottery food festival announces stellar chef line-up

The organisers of the Ottery St Mary Food & Families Festival have revealed the line-up of chefs for this year’s event on September 11 – and the list is impressive.

Kicking off the demos with a masterclass in shredded duck spring rolls is Jazzi Curley from Devon Cookery School. Jazzi was cooking tutor for Jamie Oliver in London before returning to Devon and setting up her own cookery school.

The Pig at Combe’s Dan Gavrilidis returns to wow the crowds with ideas for using seasonal produce picked fresh from the hotel’s kitchen garden combined with the highest quality meat and fish from local suppliers. After making his name working in top restaurants in London’s Fitzrovia and Mayfair, Dan moved to the Pig-near Bath prior to his current appointment as head chef at The Pig at Combe.

The festival will also be welcoming Michael Caines MBE and Liam Finnegan to showcase the modern European cuisine created with the local artisanal ingredients favoured at Lympstone Manor. Michael is a huge ambassador for Devon’s quality produce, a holder of two Michelin stars and well known for his appearances on MasterChef, Saturday Kitchen and The Great British Menu.

Flying the flag for Ottery St Mary, popular local chef Samosa Lady Tina Chauhan-Challis will be calling on her Gujarati cookery skills to show festival goers how to make a feast from vegan cuisine. From her initial success creating handmade samosas Tina now sells deli-style Indian food and runs dining nights from her shop in Mill Street.

Rounding off the day is the unmissable traditional Cook Off, which will see Good Game’s ‘Salami Steve’ and Chris Piper of Christopher Piper Wines go head to head with a surprise chef to be revealed on the day.

Throughout the festival there will be foodie events aplenty in the Cookery Workshop, including tips from Kings Manor Care Home cook Michelle Strode, food and foraging with Tessa Stone and an inspired demo from Pierre Graeber focussing on zero waste methods for cooking without wastage.

With heaps more to enjoy including activities for children, live music all day on the Samosa Lady’s Spice Stage, the Ottery Village – a celebration of all the amazing local voluntary groups, shops and other establishments in Ottery St Mary, and of course fantastic food and drink to sample, this is an event not to be missed.

This year there is an extra commitment to the environment, too. One of the festival organisers, Ruud Jansen Venneboer explained: “This festival will be the greenest ever, with a whole raft of measures in place to reduce the impact on the planet where at all possible. There will be no single use plastic on site and all waste will be separated. If you can, please bring your own reusable cup or buy one there.”

Entry to the festival on Saturday September 11 is free. It is open from 10am to 6pm at its new location in Alfington Road on land adjacent to Otter Garden Centres. There’s limited parking on site but a free shuttle bus will be operating from the centre of Ottery.

Please visit the website for up to date information: otteryfood.org


Congratulations Hannah!

If you didn’t see it in the news – we’re thrilled for our wonderful team member Hannah Taunton who won a bronze medal at the Paralympics in Tokyo on Friday.

Hannah competed in the T20 1500m event and ran a personal best time of 4:35.34. This was even more impressive as the conditions were challenging, and very wet.

Gold medal winner was Poland’s Barbara Bieganowska-Zajac and the silver was picked up by Liudmyla Danylina from Ukraine.

But top of the pile for all of us at Otter was Hannah’s fantastic achievement. We know how hard she has worked for this, and we are all incredibly proud.

Hannah works at our Taunton branch, if you see her on your next visit, give her a thumbs up!

Headline sponsors for Ottery’s favourite foodie festival!

After being postponed due to the pandemic, the Ottery St Mary Food & Families Festival is back on, with a new date of Saturday September 11th. And this time round it has a new location, in a field near to our Ottery St Mary garden centre.

The new location means the festival will be all in one place, giving it a real carnival feel. A central arena with hay bales providing a picnic area will be surrounded by producer stalls and catering stands, so parents can relax and enjoy the atmosphere as they can easily keep an eye on their kids.

In response to feedback from previous festivals, there’s more for the youngsters to do to, with the Thelma Hulbert Gallery’s new travelling ‘Creative Cabin’ set to provide a fun space to explore art and nature, plus local outdoor learning expert Alan Bruford on hand to impart bushcraft skills. Music will be a bigger part of the event than ever before with a dedicated performance stage, and there will be a few surprises for festival goers to enjoy.

Still to be revealed is a stellar line up of chefs taking part in the cookery demonstrations, with some very well-known names in the mix.

We are delighted to be headline sponsor of the festival for the sixth time, alongside other local sponsors including Otter Brewery on board as the beer sponsor; Kings Manor Care Home sponsoring the marquee; The Pig at Combe, sponsor of the food demonstration area; Ottery’s Samosa Lady sponsoring the ‘Spice Stage’, Connexion Software supporting as website sponsor and Hall & Scott Estate Agents sponsoring festival volunteer branded shirts.

You can find out more about the event, what’s on and how to get there by visiting the festival website otteryfood.org

Taking part in the Twilight Walk

Good luck to our Ottery St Mary team members who will be taking part in the Hospiscare Twilight with a Twist on Saturday 10th July. This is the 15th anniversary of the charity’s Twilight Walk!

A group of around 30 will be involved with fundraising for this wonderful local charity. Some are taking on the full 13 miles and others will be walking 6 miles. Starting at the garden centre the route, which has been planned by Lauren Pearcy and Sally Bright, will take in the town of Ottery plus local villages and Escot Estate. The walk will finish back at the garden centre.

Our team members say that over the years Hospiscare has given support and help to them, their family and friends and our wider local community and this is their way of giving back.

As a local charity in our area, Hospiscare has been supporting people with a life-limiting illness for almost 40 years. The service now covers Exeter, Mid and East Devon and include providing support at home, a specialist palliative care ward, day hospices and end-of-life care.

Like many charities, Hospiscare has been affected by the pandemic, unable to run many of its fundraising events so Twilight with a Twist could make all the difference. In Ottery we are supporting Hospiscare as our charity of the year during 2021, carrying on from 2020 when fundraising was also curtailed here.

The team hasn’t set a target but they will be delighted to receive donations, large or small. To make a donation please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/team-otter

We wish them the very best of luck – here’s hoping for lovely weather. And if you see a team of walkers dressed in the recognisable pink t-shirts with (no doubt) lots of glitter, give them a wave!

Pictured L-R are Sally Palfrey, Lauren Pearcy, Grace Talbot and Sally Bright.

Celebrating 70 years of marriage at Otter

We were delighted to welcome some old friends back to Otter for a special lunch in the coffee shop at Ottery St Mary.

Lionel and Barbara Smith came to see us last summer when Lionel was celebrating his 95th birthday. This time round, they both had a reason to celebrate as it was their 70th anniversary – they were married in 1951!

They received a wonderful card from the HRH Queen Elizabeth offering her congratulations on this amazing anniversary, which they brought along with them to show us. Their daughter and son-in-law, Jenny and Tony Seculer, also joined them for lunch.

Lionel and Barbara live in Tiverton. As dedicated gardeners they have been regular customers of Otter Garden Centres since moving to the town over 30 years’ ago. Since the pandemic they have not been able to visit us as much as usual – in fact, this was only their second trip out since last October.

After their lunch and celebratory cake, they browsed the shop for some gardening goodies to take home with them. The next day they were due to visit Knightshayes to celebrate Lionel’s 96th birthday!

Everyone at Otter sends best wishes to Lionel and Barbara. Congratulations on your impressive milestone.

Beautiful Gardens Summer 2021 Magazine

Coffee Shop Update

We are delighted that due to further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, on Monday May 17th May all our coffee shops will be open and offering indoor seating.

Please visit our COVID-19 Coffee Shop FAQ. for full information and to help you plan your visit.

We’d like to thank all customers for their patience whilst our coffee shops have been closed, and we very much look forward to seeing you soon!

New Spring 2021 Magazine

Seeds by Post – Call our Hotline Today!

Buy your Seeds through our phone hotline!

Whilst we are in lockdown we want to help ensure you can be ready with your seeds for the new gardening season. Following the success of our Seeds by Post service introduced during the March 2020 lockdown, we have reopened our Seed Hotline service again.

Whether you are new to sowing seeds or an experienced gardener you can call our dedicated team members via the hotline. During the call, they will help you choose from our wide range of seed packets. Payment will be made by phone and the seeds will be posted out to your home address by Royal Mail. It’s a great way to ensure you have all your seeds ready to sow for this season!

Postage and Packing costs £1.50 per envelope. Depending on the seeds chosen, we can usually fit 4-6 packets in one envelope – our team will be able to give you the exact postage cost when you call. We are sorry but we can only post to addresses in the UK.

We have excellent stock of all seeds including vegetables, salad, herbs, summer bedding, flower seeds (perfect for pollinators) and much more. We’re unable to list all the seeds we have in stock as we have hundreds and hundreds to choose from!  If you need help chosing veg and salad seeds, click on the link for more information Seed Sowing Guide

Brands include Thompson & Morgan, Johnsons, Mr Fothergill’s, Mr Fothergill’s David Domoney range and Mr Fothergill’s RHS range. We also have a choice of seeds suitable for children including Thompson & Morgan’s Mr Men & Little Miss range. This year may be the ideal time to introduce the younger generation to gardening and the joys of seed sowing!

This service is operated by our Ottery St Mary Garden Centre specialised seed team.

The seed hotline is open between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday

Please call 01404 815 815, choose option 1, and ask for the “SEED HOTLINE”

If you can’t get through, please try later in the day. NB the service is not available at the weekend.

Happy Sowing and Growing from all the Otter Team!