THE Owton family have been farming on Chalcroft Farm for between 400 and 500 years.

In the 70s the farm’s catering and wholesale markets became so busy that it wasn't a suitable environment for domestic customers to visit the depot, so in 1982 they converted a farm building into a retail farm shop – now a popular destination for shoppers to pick up their Christmas meat.

As well as selling meat from Chalcroft Farm the shop – and the family’s sister shop in Kimbridge – stock produce from some 20 farmers from the local area.

Items such as pigs in blankets are made on the premises and they have picked up a number of awards for their sausages.

Visit the shops at Burnetts Lane, West End, Southampton, tel: 023 8060 1154 and Kimbridge Farm Shop, Kimbridge, Romsey, tel: 01794 341681.

Our team of reviewers tried out a selection of their produce.

PIGS IN BLANKETS Small but perfectly formed, these local pork sausages were incredibly tasty. Wrapped in generous amounts of streaky bacon, the pig/blanket balance was spot on. And with 12 in a packet there’s plenty to go round. A guaranteed highlight of any traditional Christmas dinner.

LAMB CHOPS Attractive and extremely tasty, it was a mouth-watering treat to sample these tender roast lamb chops.

They come highly recommended for their size and quality. Fresh and flavoursome, they proved a scrummy treat for a winter’s evening.

PHEASANT Once the staple fare for Christmas dinner, the pheasant has now become something of a luxury on the big day.

The elegant centrepiece packs heaps of flavour so you don’t need much of the rich meat for a memorable meal. Easily overcooked but exquisite served with a lovely chestnut stuffing and all the usual trimmings. Reserve the fat for extra crispy roast potatoes.

PARTRIDGE It may not have the wow factor of a bigger bird but a partridge makes for a tasty alternative to a turkey.

At least one of these sweet tasting game birds each would make for a really special festive feast. Packed with bags of flavour the meat is slightly darker but not too rich or heavy to monopolise the dinner. I roasted mine in the oven topped with pancetta and stuffed with thyme. Delicious.

PORK It’s probably not always been the popular meat of choice, but trying this joint of pork has definitely put it back on my list of favourites.

I glazed and seasoned this large cut of pork, roasted it in the oven - and was surprisingly pleased with the results.

As well as a large amount of crunchy crackling, the meat was tender throughout and made for a great alternative as a roast dinner.

With its affordable price you certainly get a lot for your money – and what’s more there was so much to go round that we were creating different recipes to use the leftovers. Great value.

CRANBERRY SAUSAGE MEAT A perfect accompaniment to any roasted meat, I moulded this into stuffing sized balls to serve up as a side dish.

Each pack has plenty of sausage meat so it’s just the job if you’re cooking for large numbers this Christmas.

By its very nature, the meat is quite fatty, so it’s best to think about how to cook it so it’s not lying in fat or grease.

The cranberry gives it an exquisite taste that’s certainly going to make a Christmas feast extra special.