FROM OUR FARm and further afield
Most of the food you will find in our farmshops and kitchen is from our own organic farm. However, we are only able to grow crops and raise livestock that are suitable for the local environment. For example, our soil is too heavy for rearing organic pigs or cultivating asparagus. Therefore to fill the gaps we partner the best farms from local areas with naturally suitable land, like asparagus from the Vale of Evesham. We dip into Europe for their special seasonal offerings, such as figs and blood oranges, and get our larder staples like pepper, cocoa and rice from further afield.
SUSTAINABLE WILD FOOD & FISH
Around 90% of the food we serve from our kitchens is certified organic. It isn’t 100% organic as we prefer our fish and some other foods to be wild and by definition, wild products cannot be certified organic.
To protect the world’s vulnerable fisheries, we have a policy to never source from the Marine Conservation Society ‘fish to avoid’ list and most comes from known day boats in the south west of England. Where wild stocks are too delicate to harvest, we seek the best, most sustainable fish farms to supply us. This is the case for Atlantic salmon, which is a vulnerable wild species. We also benefit from wild game, plants and fungi, in season. Approximately 10% is wild, or a sustainable alternative to wild, and scrupulously audited by our own team.
Many of our organic suppliers produce with artisanal methods. And sometimes we find a non-organic product so good, so unbeatable in flavour compared to organic versions, that we just have to sell it. For example many artisans in cheese and charcuterie use sustainable methods, and maybe organic ingredients, but don’t go through the admin work of certification. In all cases, we are proud of their provenance story: where the ingredients are sourced and how the product is made.
The remaining small proportion of non-organic product occurs where there is insufficient quality or availability in the organic market. Organic producers are still quite a small community, which means supply can be limited, variable or too vulnerable to weather patterns. Chipping potatoes are a case in point. We struggle to find the perfect variety (Maris Piper or King Edward) organically produced, so we are temporarily sourcing a non-organic substitute until we do.
That’s the bit we’re working on, constantly seeking new entrants to the organic market to reach our goal of 100% organic and sustainable.