I’ve always loved an excursion – a chance to escape the monotonous work routine with a sanctioned day away from the classroom or office.
Earlier this week I went on a farm visit organised by London Food Link and Greener Food. The aim of the trip was to introduce restaurateurs, chefs, caterers and students to some local producers. It seems incredible, but there are currently no wholesale suppliers that specialise in selling and delivering local produce to London. Instead, you have to deal directly with the producers – which can seem a daunting task if you have no idea how or where to find them. London Food Link provides a database on their website which helps. But if you want to be assured of the quality of the product you are buying, nothing beats actually meeting the farmers, and the product, face to face.
First stop was a cattle farm in Kent
where they also grow acres of beautiful lavender
then a sheep farm in Sussex
ending with a visit to the Lighthouse bakery which has relocated from Northcote Rd in London to Sussex.
Perhaps it was the perfect weather conditions that made everyone so positive and good natured but all of the producers we met were incredibly passionate about their work, and the farmers seemed to genuinely care about the welfare of their animals. As one farmer explained: “I want a stress free life and I want them to have a stress free life”.
As is often the case when you start looking for answers, you find more questions. Is crossbreeding unethical if the sole purpose is to create animals that are better for human consumption? Is the use of pesticides in farming more damaging to the environment than using fuel to transport produce from organic farms that are further away? Do animals go to heaven when they die?
Ultimately for me, the most important question is ‘does it taste good’?
Farmer James sacrificed one of his lambs so we could answer this question.
It was without a doubt the best lamb I have ever tasted -melt in your mouth, juicy succulent lamb sandwiched between some Lighthouse bakery bread with home made mint sauce and salad.
If that lamb is now looking down from heaven: thank you.