In the two years since it opened, Robinson’s Smokehouse in West Buckland has attracted an increasing number of customers from both the local community and much further afield amongst those who like fine food which comes from reliable high-quality local suppliers.
Owner Raymond Robinson put his plans in place long before the Smokehouse opened, his love of and interest in smoked food – kippers and haddock especially – being the starting point. He explained, “When we lived in Suffolk 15 to 20 years ago I was a customer of two smokehouses and the owners of one – Richardson’s at Orford – gave me a lot of advice. When we moved to Somerset, David Chappell, who designs and makes kitchens here at Moorish Farm, did a lot of work on my house. He invited me to come to his first workshop and showed me this 200 year-old barn which was perfect for a smokehouse.”
Starting three years ago Ray converted the barn himself to make a bright, appealing showcase for his produce – cheese, meat (his supplier is Wellington’s Tim Potter), fish and garlic – which he smokes in a specially built unit nearby. His shop also stocks locally-sourced quality produce and can be included in hampers that make ideal gifts. Even the solid oak logs he uses are local, from Chard, delivered with the moisture retained which is the traditional way of creating the unique flavour of smoked food.
Ray admits to being self-taught, adding, “I had to learn how different products reacted with brine and the time required” – but his experience as the owner of a catering supplies and wholesale olive oil business run from Taunton, serving restaurants and hotels around the south-west, is wholly compatible with his smokehouse.
Ray admits that Robinson’s Smokehouse is “a bit off the main road which means that people have to know where I am but business is moving in the right direction. The last two Christmases have gone well and new customers are coming to us all the time.”
Robinson’s Smokehouse adds to the area’s enviable number of specialist food outlets and can be found at The Old Haybarn, Moorish Farm, West Buckland. Details and opening hours can be found on www.robinsonssmokehouse.co.uk.