Our Attitude to Food
Recipe for Success, by Patricia Atkinson
Keeping a supply chain local not only makes good environmental sense, it means that local farmers and producers reap the benefits in terms of increased business and support. At Farncombe Estate, close to the picturesque village of Broadway, on-site catering company Wilson Vale views local sourcing as key to keeping quality standards high, environmental impact low and customers’ health and wellbeing to the fore.
“Feeding hundreds of visitors a day is a challenging task,” says Wilson Vale’s managing director Andrew Wilson, “but Farncombe Estate is a like-minded client who is equally passionate about food standards, environmental impact and supporting local business. It really is a recipe for success.
“Catering manager Rosie Venner has the freedom to source quality ingredients from some great suppliers within a 30-mile radius. By keeping food miles to a minimum, everything is fresh, traceable, in-season and bursting with flavour and goodness.”
Details that make the difference
Most of the vegetables used at Farncombe Estate come from Worcester Produce, a 100-year old organisation in Pershore, Worcestershire. Bread comes from Lawrance’s Bakery in Evesham. All cakes and biscuits are home-made on-site by the Wilson Vale team. All dairy products come from Red Tractor-approved Cotteswood Dairy in Tewksbury, which gets its fresh milk, cheese, eggs, cream and yoghurt from National Dairy Farm Assured farmers – also all within a 30-mile radius.
“On average, we use 800 pints of milk and 10 gallons of fresh cream every week,” says Rosie Venner. “Our jam is hand-made by Elspeth Robertson at Wayside Farm Shop in Evesham, just a stone’s throw from the centre. We purchase four large 7lbs jars of whichever flavour she has made that week and that provides 350 cream teas for Farncombe students. “It’s these tiny things that make all the difference. There is no comparison between mass- produced jam and the home-made variety. An added environmental bonus is that we return our jars for re-use. ”
(adapted from a feature which appeared in Worcestershire Life magazine, February 2012)