Understanding where your food comes from is an important part of being able to make a conscious decision with your food choices. Whether you’re vegan or not, being able to trace the food you eat back to its starting point helps to make you feel more connected to how you fuel your body. You might be surprised to discover the carbon footprint of some of the produce you buy. With high demands to have a wide variety of foods available all year, mass retailers have no other option than to source further (sometimes much further) afield to get ripe and ready to consume produce. Scouting out farmer’s markets and butchers for local, seasonal produce is a great step for when you’re cooking at home but what about when you decide to dine out? It can be almost impossible to know where restaurants source their ingredients and what quality and ethical standards are being used. If you’ve made a conscious effort to eat more local, sustainable and seasonal produce but don’t want to be restricted to staying home to eat then check out the best farm-to-table restaurants in the UK that are proud to be transparent about where they source their food.
Born out of a passion for organic gardening and culinary excellence, Gael and Francesco Boglione founded Petersham Nurseries in 1997 so others could experience the simple pleasures of good food. Their main supplier, Haye Farm in Devon, is run by son Harry Boglione and his wife Emily, who provide lovingly and respectfully grown produce to the Richmond and Covent Garden outposts as well as other prestigious restaurants. Their Eldest daughter, Lara Boglione took over the role of Managing Director in 2011 and is responsible for the growth and success of the business and youngest daughter, Ruby Boglione is Petersham Nurseries’ Buyer, sourcing the most beautiful, unique pieces from fine linens to ceramics for their shop. This is a brilliant representation of a successful family business and remains one of our all-time favourite places to enjoy a special meal.
Heckfield Place hasn’t been open for that long but it has already gained a reputation for not only being a perfect spot to escape the city but also for its main restaurant, Marle. Headed up by none other than the legendary Skye Gyngell (known for her work at Petersham Nurseries and Somerset House’s Spring Restaurant) Marle offers a beautifully simple menu that really celebrates food. With much of its ingredients sourced in their market garden and farm, you’ll be able to taste how fresh the produce is, knowing it was probably picked just hours before.
A trip to Coombeshead Farm in Cornwall is one for the bucket list, and, if you’re quick, you might be able to snap up one of their 5 guest rooms to make it a foodie-filled weekend. Set on 66 acres of meadow and woodland, they endeavour to provide as much of the food for their restaurant as possible, ethically rearing pigs, chicken and sheep on the farm as well as growing much of the vegetable produce too. Expect seasonal delights in the most picturesque location.
Head to North Yorkshire to discover The Black Swan, a little country gem tucked away in the village of Olstead. Owner and head chef, Tommy Banks, gained his first Michelin star for The Black Swan aged just 23 and 7 years on, he and his team are just as focused on creating truly sensational and memorable menus that change with the seasons using produce grown and foraged literally on the doorsteps of the restaurant. They also have rooms available to book if you’re planning to make a weekend trip out of your visit.
Head to Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire to experience one of the finest examples of what farm-to-table really means. Tour their farm and market garden, shop in their deli, eat at their restaurant and even cook in their kitchens to feel fully immersed in the Daylesford way of living. The UK’s first fully organic farm, Daylesford really paved the way for others across the country and pride themselves on setting the bar for organic farming. With farm shops in London, you can still get a snippet of the experience if you don’t have time to escape to the Cotswolds (but we really recommend you plan a proper visit!)
This foodie hot spot in the heart of Clapham, London might not appear an obvious candidate for offering that farm-to-table dining but their bistro-style menu packs a serious wow factor with plenty of seasonal and home-grown goodness. Being London, they do source a little further afield for certain ingredients but aim to create a menu that is not only unique and packed full of flavour but one that is sensitive to the seasons.
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