CHRISTMAS is a busy time at Low Sizergh Farm near Kendal, and it will be the fortieth for the Park family who farm there.

Three generations are involved in running this National Trust farm.

In that time, they've created a few traditions of their own, and food from their farm shop has become part of many other people's Christmas traditions.

It’s also a shop window on the wonderful region’s wonderful produce that makes Christmas special.

Today John and Marjorie’s son Richard, his wife Judith and their son Matthew run the 400-acre farm and their daughter Alison looks after the farm shop and café.

The 17th century Westmorland stone barn is a market place for over 50 local suppliers, and more across the north of England.

They range from big local names like Higginson’s and R B Woodall (Waberthwaite) to those getting their first chance at retail as well as individuals who trade their surplus allotment or garden crops for vouchers to spend in the shop.

The café, farm shop, and external vending machine is where you’ll find the farm’s home grown produce, including, from the Low Sizergh herd, raw milk and cheese, and salad from the onsite horticultural social enterprise, Growing Well.

The farm kitchen also produces a range of goodies for sale in the farm shop, Christmas staples like chutney, sausage rolls, mince pies and Christmas cake.

Alison reveals that it’s her dad, John Park, who’s the wordsmith behind the cake labels. This year the Christmas cake says; ‘In our aprons every day we fold, and stir and bake. Just once a year the kitchen’s filled with scents of Christmas cake.’

“Food is a big part of Christmas for everyone,” says Alison “and it’s lovely to have become part of our customers’ holiday tradition from the Christmas cheeseboard to the main event and the Boxing Day buffet.

“We’ve a wide selection of cheeses in the counter including our own Kendal Creamy, made from organic milk by Chris Sandham of Rostock Dairy in Lancashire. And a lovely ewe’s milk cheese from St. James, a small family-run dairy based in Grange-Over-Sands. Martin Gott and his partner Nicola produce small batches of high-quality cheese, in a variety of interesting and unusual flavours.

“When it comes to the festive bird, our turkeys are from Herb Fed in North Yorkshire. They specialise in free-range fowl, fed on a diet that includes over 10 varieties of fresh herbs. One year a couple walked through deep snow to collect their 18lb turkey. They were about to set off back home laden-down. Fortunately, my dad John was on hand in his 4x4 to take them, and their turkey home.

“And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without damsons or pudding. Nearly every farm around us has an orchard with damson trees. The fruit makes a great accompaniment to cheese, as gumbo, and it makes a brilliant Christmas pudding.

“We sell Cowmire Hall puddings made with damson and damson gin made in the Lake District. Also, on sale in the shop, are some fun and rather delicious gin-filled bauble which make great, grown-up stocking fillers.

“Another popular, locally produced Christmas spirit comes from Judith Wren who launched Kin Toffee Vodka at Christmas 2013. To remind everyone of its Lake District credentials there’s an outline of the Langdale Fells on the label of the bottle. Her range has expanded since then and goes down very well with our customers,” adds Alison.

When it comes to the question of what’s on the family’s farmhouse Christmas table. Alison says it traditional turkey and trimmings and plenty of seasonal food.

They also enjoy the three cheeses made with milk from the herd and there’s plenty of Windermere Ice Cream, which is also made their milk, in the freezer to top off the puddings.

The impressive mix of produce found in the farm shop is thanks to the family’s belief that farms sit at the centre of a thriving rural economy.

Low Sizergh’s farm shop, café and trail is open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and News Year’s Day. For opening times and other information, including details of Christmas food to order please visit

The family farm:

'More than 40 businesses and providers of services within a 50 mile radius support the day to day running of the farm. Our farm shop is a market place for over 80 local suppliers, from big names (locally anyway!) to local growers who trade their surplus crops at harvest time.We are proud to have the social enterprise Growing Well on site; their organic vegetables and salads are available through a crop share scheme, in the farm shop and in the tea room, where mixed leaves make up the most deliciously fresh salad.We share ideas and information with local and national networks of farmer, food and farming organisations.We are aware of the bigger picture in which we run our businesses, and that helps us adapt as we cope with everything from the vagaries of the Cumbrian weather to increasing food prices and future food security.Being tenant farmers across generations we are aware that the farm has been here since the 13th century (when it provided food for the castle across the fields) and that it will be here long after we are gone.'