Seeking Out Farm to Food Perfection

When we first started growing our own we never dreamt that we’d end up selling our veggies in our own shop…

But, a decade on, that’s just what is happening.

Many people tell us that we were ahead of the game when we set up our farm shop. We’re often told that we somehow predicted ‘the Farm-to-Table trend‘ that was soon to take over the UK scene. In fact, that really wasn’t the case. Both Gerald and I started growing vegetables in the garden so that we could alleviate our own mounting food bills and find a way of preparing food for the kids that was healthy and free of any chemicals.

Still – we’re both so pleased that the concept of Farm-to-Table eating is so fashionable right now.

Despite what many people might think, Farm-to-Table cookery is much more than just oddly shaped vegetables and anaemic looking meat. In the last few years a number of restaurants have started cropping up, touting the very best in locally sourced food; all of them trying to claim the prize for shortest distance from garden (or pen!) to plate.

It makes sense that the high-end restaurant scene has picked up on this new trend, really. Ethically sourced food is invariably more expensive than your average food stuff and both Gerald and I can attest that it tastes significantly better than than your average ingredient. Of course, there’s no point having lovely, local food if the chef doesn’t have a bleeding clue what he’s doing with it!

The very best Farm-to-Table restaurants make the most of their rural locations whilst also poaching the finest cooking talent from London. So, whilst the ingredients might not have travelled that far to get into your mouth, you can almost guarantee that the chefs themselves probably did.

On our mission to taste some of the best British produce, Gerald and I took a trip to a restaurant that sits right on the edge of the Lake District. L’Enclume is one of the most iconic restaurants offering a completely seasonal menu that constantly shifts throughout the year. Chef and owner Simon Rogan takes his veggies very seriously. In fact, he respects the plants that he grows in his 12-acre farm so much that he demands that each new chef entering his kitchen works the land for at least one month before setting foot in the kitchen.

The food certainly doesn’t come cheap here.

Both Gerald and I choose to drink (as we’ve made such a long trip we’re both eager for a good glass of wine with our dinner). The total cost for the tasting menu, with ‘classic’ wine pairing, comes to £450 and we both begin to understand the attractive aspect of running a restaurant in conjunction with your farm. The food itself is certainly fancier that we’re used to eating, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying it – the wine is also well worth the £80/pp (!) price tag.

Leaving L’Enclume, we both share a look and a shrug. Whilst it might have been fun to set up our own restaurant, we’re satisfied for now with just eating at other people’s tables!

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