Local Food that you can trust...
At Huntstile Farm we are passionate about food and we try and produce as much of what we like to eat as possible...and we do it organically. This means we grow food in tune with the environment, we don't use artificial pesticides, we rotate crops, we don't force anything, its a more natural way of growing and it all starts with the soil: healthy soil = healthy crops = healthy people.
What you eat really matters to us, the quality, the flavour - its all important.
Our motto is: Love Your Food... we do!
One of the most frequent comments from our guests to our farm is about our food: “Those sausages taste how sausage USED to taste when I was a child” or “That’s how strawberries SHOULD taste!” or “That’s the carrotiest carrot I’ve ever had!” or “This apple juice is so sweet and it taste like …fresh apples!” (could it be the fresh apples we use?) and “That’s the best ham I’ve ever eaten” …I could go on. Which led me to thinking: when did food start losing its quality and flavour, and when did food producers actually decide that growing food without a good flavour was a plan?
Its a sad truth but supermarkets and fast food outlets have put the squeeze on farmers for cheaper food production for many years. While the costs of raising livestock and horticulture have actually increased, the price farmers are paid for food has gone down. These outlets have become more and more part of people’s daily routine, which has led to the local stores and independent traders having to shut up shop as they cannot compete with the price.
What consumers have lost in this process, apart from the choice of shopping outside the supermarket groups, is the quality of the food on our plates: cheaper growing techniques forced by low sale prices, cheaper sources of sugar (the dread glucose-fructose syrup , actually a by-product of the palm oil industry) and cheaper proteins. There is less meat in meat products topped up with cheap fillers – the “modified starch” ingredient – and in some cases, as with the latest horse meat scandal, not even the meat you thought you were eating in the first place.
The whole food economy right across Europe needs to be re-structured. When it was put in place after the war it was helping trade and recovering economies – but that was 70 years ago. We, as a nation of food lovers and gardeners, need to re-kindle our passion for what we love best. Those of us with a bit of land can get our hands dirty and grow some food, those who do not have the space or prefer not to can buy delicious, quality produce direct from local farmers and growers and get cooking again.
It is the time to get together in your community and set up a Food Swap or a Food Share, or a Community Garden, or a Community Shared Agriculture plot and grow veg and livestock, and sell the excess – there are farmers and growers who would be willing to help you. You don’t have to shop in a supermarket anymore – you can buy direct from your local producers …and lots of them deliver the goods right to your door.
My grandmother said to me many years ago, “if you can read – you can cook!”
Cooking is a passion with all of us at Huntstile and there is nothing like having the very freshest ingredients to hand. We have been extremely fortunate this year to have David, Rosie, Helen & John all helping and looking after our veg plots and growing the most amazing vegetables. Paul, our long term Wwoofer, has been tending our livestock producing delicious pork, and homemade sausages, and our chickens are laying the most delicious eggs that ever were (yes, I am biased).
This year our hedgerows have been stuffed full of juicy blackberries and cob nuts, the walnut tree has produced a hefty harvest too and to top it off neighbours to the south raise organic lamb and beef, Steve (who runs Seafoods in Burnham) sells the finest crabs from Brixham and knows the best catch of the day and where to get it, and Richard Plowright (Stowey Rocks Farm up the road) is a sensational local organic vegetable producer who delivers anything extra that we need each week. There is also Dykes Farm organic dairy who sell delicious unpasteurised milk from a little shed on the farm in Stoke St Gregory. We have just bought our first 5 dairy cows after 10 years of quitting the dairy scene…watch this space for our House Cow Milk!
One thing I have learned is that buying fresh food and cooking it (…apart from giving me the pleasure of creating a delicious meal/knowing exactly where it has come from/how it was produced) is that it usually works out a LOT cheaper than buying a ready meal – and the flavour…well, there’s simply nothing that beats it.
So find out who your local suppliers are – for recipes check out the blog or email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking here
Happy Baking! 😉 x