F. Milford’s: A Local Grocer in the Community of Exeter

fruit veg exeter

Milford and Son’s started in 1908 as a family-run local grocer, a tradition that continues to this day.

Cousins Steve Hawley and Paul Milford began their F. Milford’s careers running the grocer’s market stall in Exeter back in the 1980’s. They have since risen within the company and are now Director’s, sourcing the best fruit and vegetables from South West suppliers for our customers and ensuring that our food safety standards remain high.

Through the years, we have expanded from a small fruit and vegetable shop in Paul street to a wholesaler based in Marsh Barton, but something that hasn’t changed is our values.

  • We work with many South West suppliers, getting our fruit and vegetables delivered to us from as close as possible to ensure that they are the best quality and freshness for our customers.
  • And, our produce isn’t the only thing that we source locally, we also buy our stationery and sundries from other local companies in and around Exeter.
  • We always either reuse our produce boxes or donate them to other local businesses who can make use of them.
  • We support many local charities and events, including Force Cancer Charity bike ride.

Our values underpin everything that we do at F. Milford’s, and as well as helping the local economy and community, they also help us reduce our carbon footprint and make us more environmentally friendly, something that is important to us as a local grocer.

If you would like to talk to us about what products we currently have and how we could help your business, then please get in touch with us today by calling us on 01392 274 035 or emailing steve@fmilfords.co.uk.


West Country Produce Available Today at F. Milford and Sons

Fresh local produce

At F. Milford and Sons we take great pride in our role as a local, family-run wholesaler. As part of this, we are proud to work closely with West Country producers, delivering their goods to our customers every day.

In the South West, we have a lot of fantastic fruit and vegetable growers and dairy product suppliers. We work closely with them to ensure that the products we sell are the best quality and delicious. And whenever possible, we use our vast supply network in the West Country to source our products, as this cuts down on food miles ensuring that our fruit and vegetables reach us as fresh and delicious as when they were picked.

There are many benefits to buying produce that has been grown in the West Country. As well as supporting local businesses and the economy of the South West, buying local also means that you’re eating produce that is in season and at its best.

The rise of the supermarket, with their year-round availability of fruit and vegetables, may have reduced the perception of seasonality, but there has recently been a surge in consumers desire to know where their food is coming from. This has led restaurants to highlight their use of locally sourced foods on their menus, and we’re happy to be able to supply the restaurants and cafes that buy from us with the best West Country produce available.

From small cafes and restaurants, to bigger establishments such as schools and universities, F. Milford and Sons deliver fresh produce to our customers every day, no matter what their size.

We’re proud to be supporting West Country producers and supplying our customers with the best seasonal produce available. If you would like to find out more about the different West Country products that we have available, including fruit, vegetables and, dairy products, then please contact us today on 01392 274 035.


Local Asparagus Delivery in Devon


At F. Milford and Son’s, we have a great selection of fresh fruit and vegetables that we deliver to local businesses in Exeter and surrounding Devon towns and villages every day. Asparagus has now come into season, which means that we have just started delivering it to our customers.

Asparagus is a great vegetable as it is full of vitamins and minerals; it contains high levels of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, iron and calcium, which are all essential for a healthy lifestyle.

It also has different characteristics depending on where it was grown; English asparagus is green, French is purple and Spanish is white, because it is grown beneath the soil. English asparagus is usually grown between May-July, but we can source it as early as February and as late as September from our supplier in the Wye Valley.

At Milford’s we source our asparagus from two different suppliers; the one in the Wye Valley and one from the Vale of Evesham.

An interesting fact about asparagus is that it can grow up to 10 cm per day, some people have even claimed that they can hear the shoots growing.

There are lots of different ways that you can enjoy it; you could bake it in a tart, have it as a side with some salmon or even your Sunday roast. Asparagus is also great in risottos, salads, pasta dishes and stir-fries – we’re happy to talk about recipes with customers at any time!

Alternatively, if you would like to talk to us about a delivery of our delicious asparagus in Devon, then contact us today to discuss your needs with us.


West Country Spring Greens and Cabbage are in Season

April sees the arrival of the peak period for the first cabbages of the year, spring greens. Rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, these leafy green vegetables are a delicious way to top up your immune system, and keep your eyes and skin healthy.

F. Milford and Sons source our spring greens and cabbage from Stone, a vegetable supplier in the West Country.

There are lots of great ways that you can enjoy spring greens and cabbage; from stir-fry’s to soups and stews, or you could just have them as a side dish with one of your favourite meals. Here is a very simple recipe which you can use for your spring greens:

Spring Cabbage with Mustard Seeds:


1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp mustard seed

1 small onion, finely sliced,

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tbsp grated ginger

500g spring cabbage, shredded


  • Start by heating the oil in a frying pan, then cook the mustard seeds until they are starting to pop. Then add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until golden. Next, put in the cabbage and stir, ensuring that it is fully coated in the spices. Cook for 5 mins until tender, then season and serve immediately.


The best time to buy spring greens and cabbage is from April – June, as this is when they are at their best. To put in an order, or speak to us about any of the other West Country vegetables that we supply, then contact us today on 01392 274 035, or email steve@fmilfords.co.uk.


West Country Rhubarb Season is Here

West Country Rhubarb
West Country Rhubarb

The maincrop rhubarb season has now started, which means South West rhubarb is now in full swing at F Milford’s.

Rhubarb is a complex vegetable as it has two different seasons, ‘forced’ and maincrop.

‘Forced’ rhubarb is grown under pots in the early months of the year within the ‘rhubarb triangle’ – Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford. Maincrop rhubarb can be grown all over the UK and its season runs from March – June. This means that rhubarb is now in season in the West Country, and our South West producers are delivering their in-season rhubarb to Milford’s.

There are several differences between the two different kinds of rhubarb, one main distinction is that ‘forced’ rhubarb is a watermelon colour, whilst maincrop is a deep red. However, there are some similarities as well. Rhubarb leaves, both maincrop and ‘forced’, contain oxalic acid and shouldn’t be eaten, and all rhubarb is too tart to be eaten raw, so must be first cooked with a lot of sugar to neutralise the tart taste.

Although rhubarb is classified as a vegetable, it is treated more like a fruit, and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways; on ice cream, waffles or yoghurt, or even on a salad or fish. There are lots of recipes out there which use rhubarb in different ways.

We thought we would share with you a simple recipe to cook rhubarb, which can be used to accompany a variety of foods.

Roasted Rhubarb:


55g rhubarb

85g golden caster sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Then rinse the rhubarb and get rid of any excess water. Trim the ends off and cut into little finger-sized pieces. Put the rhubarb in a shallow dish or baking sheet which has sides, then pour the sugar over, toss together so that the rhubarb is equally covered and then arrange so it’s in a single layer
  2. Cover with foil and roast for 15 mins. After the 15 minutes has passed, remove the foil. The sugar should have dissolved, so give it a little shake and roast for another 5 mins or until the rhubarb is tender and the juices are syrupy. When you think, it is ready, test with a sharp knife; the rhubarb should be easy to cut through.
  3. Then all that’s left to do, is enjoy with your favourite accompaniment!

Local Supplier: Thornes Farm

Thornes Farm Shop

At F. Milford and Sons, local fruit and vegetable wholesalers in Exeter, we pride ourselves on the work we do with producers and suppliers of fresh fruit and vegetables in Devon. We believe that it is this approach which sets us apart from other wholesalers; we care a lot about our local community and economy and work hard to strengthen them both.

This month we wanted to introduce you to one of our suppliers; Anthony Thorne from Thornes Farm.

Anthony has farming in his blood; his family has been farming in Devon for hundreds of years. Thornes farm, which can be found in the Devon town of Crediton, 7 miles outside of Exeter, has been going for 30 years, since it was bought by Anthony in 1986. They supply us with some of the best fruit and vegetables that the South West has to offer.

They are especially known for their strawberries; which we stock between May- November, and are perfect for making delicious conserves and jams as well as lots of other delicious, healthy treats.

This Autumn, we will have a whole range of different fresh, fruit and vegetables sourced locally from Thornes Farm including; savoy cabbage, primo cabbage, Romanesco cauliflower, leeks, pumpkins, Marfona potatoes, beetroot- candy, golden and normal varieties, courgettes, kale – Russian red, cabanero and curly varieties, swede, and a limited supply of strawberries.

If you would like to talk to us about any of the locally sourced products we have available or to make an order, then please contact us today where we will be happy to help.


Autumnal Recipes Using Local Fruit and Vegetables

Autumnal vegetables
Autumn has arrived, and although we are sad to see the summer months disappear, we are excited for all the new fresh fruit and vegetables which we are going to be getting now that the seasons have changed. Keep an eye on our Twitter and Instagram accounts, where we will be posting pictures of the fresh new produce which arrives as it becomes in season.

Autumn is a great time of year, the leaves start to change colour, transforming Exeter and the South West, and our local suppliers start to harvest fresh autumnal produce for us which we then supply to local businesses.

Autumn also sees a change in the kind of food that we eat, gone are the summer salads and BBQ’s and instead we introduce more warm, comforting food into our diets such as roasted vegetables and apple crumbles for dessert. With that in mind, we have curated two recipes which we think are perfect for the Autumn months; created using fresh, seasonal produce.

Potato and Leek Soup in 6 easy steps:

1 onion
225g potatoes
2 medium sized leeks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Pints of vegetable stock
150ml double cream or crème fraiche
salt and pepper (to taste)


1. Slice the onion and leeks and cut the potatoes into cubes
2. Heat the oil in a large pan and then add the chopped ingredients
3. When they have started to soften, which should happen after 3-4 minutes, add the vegetable stock and then bring to the boil
4. Put in the salt and pepper, to taste, and then leave to simmer until the vegetables are tender
5. Use a blender- either hand or standard- to blend the ingredients until they are smooth then reheat the soup in a clean pan, adding the cream or crème fraiche
6. Ensure soup is heated all the way through then serve.

Comforting Apple Crumble:

3 medium sized Bramley apples (575g)
2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar
175g plain flour
110g golden caster sugar
110g cold butter

Preparing the apples:
– Pre-heat your oven to 190c/170 fan/gas 5
– Prepare the apples by peeling, coring and slicing to preferred thickness then coat the apple slices with the 2 tablespoons of sugar, mixing until all of the slices are thoroughly coated
– Place the slices into a 23cm round baking dish which is at least 5cm deep, pressing them down into the bottom of the dish to create a good base for the crumble to go onto.
Creating the crumble:
– Place the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt
– Slice the butter up into manageable chunks, then place these in the bowl and start to combine the ingredients together using your fingertips
– Continue to do this until there are no lumpy bits and the whole mixture is crumbly and moist.
– Gently pour the crumble mix onto the apples and spread out evenly across the top, making sure to cover all of the apples
– Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes- by which time the crumble should be a lovely golden colour and the apples should be soft (this can be tested by inserting a small knife into the crumble)
– All that’s left to do is to decide how you want to serve it (custard, cream and clotted cream are all great partners) and enjoy!

If you want to make these recipes or any others and would like information about our selection of fresh, locally sourced ingredients and how to get the best from them, then contact us at F. Milford and Sons today and we will be happy to help.


Asparagus recipe with a difference

Want to try a tasty treat with a nutritional vegetable? This takes just 15 minutes and is easy to prepare.

Asparagus with Spring salad, for 4


1 bunch asparagus, trimmed into 2 inch pieces

150ml water

A few pieces of cooked chicken or you can use any left over bacon or sausage

Olive oil

Lemon juice

1 shallot or a handful of spring onions or try fennel

1tsp honey



Steam the asparagus until tender-crisp, takes just a few minutes

Draw and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking

Make the marinade by whisking the olive oil with the lemon juice, honey and a little sea salt. Season with a little ground pepper. Add to the asparagus and coat it with the marinade. Add the chicken and other ingredients and toss well before serving up.


More recipes from F Milfords in Exeter are in the cookery book, follow us – @fmilfordandsons