The company, which is run by Carole Bamford, wife of JCB billionaire Sir Anthony Bamford, has billed its latest offer as "a breath of countryside in the hustle and bustle of London". At just over 4,500 sq ft, the organic food company's latest London shop is its largest, and most stylish yet. Its offer stretches over three floors, each of which has an individual look and feel, and includes a wine cellar, glass-fronted customer café and gourmet restaurant. Fresh fruit and vegetables, the majority of which come fresh from Daylesford's own Gloucestershire farm, are given pride of place in the ground floor food hall, where they are piled high on marble counters, creating the look of an artisan market.
Livestock for its meat range are raised and slaughtered on the company farm and the meat is transported directly to stores. The same goes for many of Daylesford's milk and cheese products.
Organic meat, fish and poultry products stand out in white marble chillers, while ambient goods such as cakes, biscuits and spices peep out of alcoves cut into the stone walls.
The store does not have a large amount of back room space for storage, and so receives a delivery from Daylesford's farms every day.
The desire to preserve artisan skills is behind much of the design. The ground floor has a large bread oven clad in traditional dry stone walling, while handmade wickerwork trays have been used to create beautiful natural shelving. And one of the store's crowning glories is a thick hand-woven wicker handrail, which spirals upwards from the basement level to the top floor.
Housing a large non-food section and chocolaterie, the top floor has been designed to create an entirely different and more calming atmosphere from the hustle and bustle of the colourful food hall and café below. Natural materials and rustic white wooden floors create a softer, more rustic ambience.
Visitors to the top floor can purchase cookery books and handmade homewares such as wooden cheeseboards and cutlery. There is also a large range of Soil Association-accredited preserves and babyfoods. The store also prides itself on having a highly trained workforce. All staff are trained on how organic food farming works and can provide additional services including wine tastings in the basement and advice on its wide range of organic and biodynamic wines.
"Our staff share a wholehearted commitment to quality and purity," says Lady Bamford. "They care about what we produce, and believe in our stand against mediocre, degraded food."
The store has also been designed with a green ethos in mind. Huge windows and an atrium on the third floor have been incorporated to maximise natural light, while the marble counters help to keep products naturally cool, so preserving energy. Daylesford also has a robust recycling policy. It doesn't use plastic bags - customers are instead presented with stylish cotton or paper bags designed for life. It has also recently introduced fully biodegradable packaging for milk, which is sold in plastic jugs instead of bottles.
The recycling ethos goes beyond just bags. Stags, for example, are not just bred for their excellent meat. Their antlers and horns are also used to create knife handles and pieces of art, all of which can be purchased in the store.
With such a unique store, and Daylesford set to take a bigger slice of the organic pie following a tie up with Planet Organic - it is opening a department in Planet Organic's Notting Hill store - larger organic chains will be taking note. n