Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Loving my job!

When I started my new career as that of a Licensee nearly 5 years ago, I never thought for one moment that it would involve visiting farms and looking at cattle............!

I thought it would be all pulling pints and making small talk. Wrong!!!

But the more we source our food from local suppliers, and the more successful we find our pub becoming, then the more I find myself doing just that! Visiting Farmers, talking about sustainability and generally learning loads about food!!

We're still getting our local beef from our local Farmer Graham who we started working with last year, but its getting more and more difficult for him to keep up with our ever growing demands for Beef that's been hung for 21 days or more and also we get through 3 or 4 sides of beef a week, so we're looking to widen our choice of suppliers whilst keeping Graham very firmly as our main supplier. Tim & I are very keen to keep on having as much true local produce as possible, so last week we found ourselves having a trip to Greenwell Farm - up on Dartmoor.

Matt Cole, who is the Farmer we met, is part of a group called the Dartmoor Farmers
a collection of farmers who have put themselves together as a co-operative company set up in 2007 with the support of Prince Charles.

The company comprises around 50 hill farmers working together, to promote quality beef and lamb produced on the moor in a move away from commodity-driven supply, to the supply of a unique premium brand.

Hence, our visit last week to Matt and a whistle stop tour up, across and round his land to look at his cattle in an old land rover! Oh my goodness, it was more fun than being on a roller coaster, and I'm sure I sounded like a child who's never seen a cow at close quarters!!! Oooohhing and aahhing like a delighted 5 year old!!
First of all of course, we had to find this farm up on the moors and after the obligatory squabble consisting of - 'why aren't we using the bloody sat nav' and the countless wrong turnings - which resulted in me getting VERY crotchety because we were a little late (my absolute pet hate!!), we did however at last find ourselves driving up to this glorious farm set in Dartmoor and seemingly a million miles away from a very busy Salcombe.

Matt farms South Devon & Galloway cattle as well as Lambs, and showed huge pride and enjoyment in his job - just like we had seen with Graham when we did our initial visit to his farm last year. He talked of the vast amounts of paperwork he has to do and the fact that every single Cow has a 'Passport' to show who, when, what injections etc, etc for each and every animal! He talked about the rising costs of his farm and the loss of subsidies that is making life difficult for Farmers. We talked mutually about how whilst having good business's, costs were rising and life is not easy at times - whatever business you're in!

Me stroking only the 2nd Horse in my entire life!!
But back to the cattle and our visit, I am so much more pragmatic nowadays about life in the country and the natural food chain that exists, but I admit to a little pang in my heart when looking at some of Matt's beautiful calves.......and I also understood a lot better the issues of farming in todays world.

I constantly wonder at how my life has taken me from a suited and booted woman who had a career in Local Government that regularly lead her to meetings with Councillors, MP's etc and who enjoyed browsing round shops on her day off, to this country (ish) person who actually likes tramping round farms and County Shows, and has totally gone off shopping in big cities!!  Matt asked me how I'm enjoying my relatively new life and I have to say that I guess Tim & I are living many peoples dream...??!!

Anyway, all we need to do now is have another meeting to try to agree prices and we could see ourselves doing some business with Dartmoor Farmers. It's all about cost at the end of the day for both parties and I'll let you know how that goes.

The Victoria Inn was heaving with customers this last weekend - the end of Merlin Rocket week saw many of the private schools breaking up and coming down here and lots and lots of lovely customers coming back to say hi and let us know that they're around for a few weeks. It's so lovely welcoming back our friends - some of them come in looking so tired and harassed from their busy (many of them high powered executives) lives and who find it hard to leave their cares in their suitcases, but so lovely to see them unwind and relax as they get more and more into their holidays!

Of course, we've been blessed with stunning weather (in fact, dare I say a little too hot!) so the sun has bought a smile to everyone's face. A lot of fantastic fish on our menu at the moment, and coming on today - Mariners Medley an assortment of fish and scallops - last time we had that on the specials board it flew out the door!


1 comment:

00kevin said...

Have you considered putting goat on your menu. Makes a mean curry and would be very popular with the fat cats.