With a farm shop for some seriously good food shopping, a garden centre and gift shop to mosey around and a restaurant with one of the best views of any on the island, the Harrison family’s scenically located one stop shop is the perfect destination for a day out.
The long-established garden centre is known throughot the province for its hanging baskets (they offer a DIY basket service, with expert help on hand to make it easy) and many of the people who head here for that are delighted to take home some seasonal produce too, and to stay for a bite to eat as well.
The farm shop stocks a wide range of foods, both Irish and imported, as well their own produce - including potatoes straight out of the ground - and there’s a butchery counter run by Noel Angus of the renowned Greyabbey butchers Angus Farm Shop (see entry).
The restaurant is a more recent venture and, while it was a brave undertaking in recession, it is very customer-focused and has proved a huge success. The location is fantastic and the large modern building is designed to make the best of it, with plenty of glass and doors that open up onto the west-facing terrace in fine weather to take advantage of both the lovely coastal view and the afternoon sun.
At snack times you’ll find all the great home bakes that Northern Ireland is famous for, while lunches and evening meals offer modern bistro cooking with local ingredients - including Portavogie seafood and the farm’s own vegetables - to the fore. And, unusually for this kind of restaurant, there is table service.
Harrisons was one of the businesses featured on BBC’s The Farm Fixer - and famously rejected Nick Hewer’s advice to change the name and open on Sundays. Well, the controversy did them no harm at all, the name is just grand, they’re doing great business all week and Sunday remains a day of rest.
It’s one of Northern Ireland’s greatest recent success stories - and well worth a detour.