Saturday 27th April 2013 saw The Laden Table collaborate with family owned Shepherds Purse cheese farm. Our chef for the evening was the amazing, Andrew Pern from The Star in Harome. The dinner was outdoors and the weather was perfect with wall to wall blue skies, but still eating outdoors does have certain complexities and thankfully Andrew was the right man for the job, he is what I look for when choosing a chef to work with… He is gung ho and game for an experience. The food was perfect, and every item on the menu was locally sourced and each supplier vetted by myself-and of course featured Shepherds Purse infamous cheeses. It was also a pleasure working with the trio of women who make Shepherds Purse the empire it is. It really was a magical evening… The proof is in the pictures
Today I had the pleasure of spending some time with Gareth Barlow, not THE Gareth Barlow, however in my world, this one is far more interesting. I got the opportunity to learn more about Gareth’s business Howardian Hebrideans and see first hand how his flock spend their time. I am in a very fortunate position right now where by I get to meet and learn about some of the wonderful farmers & producers we have in Yorkshire. You can be assured if an ingredient makes it on to my menu I have taken the time to follow that ingredient from farm to table.
I am a vegetarian at large, which means how I choose the meat that makes it on to my table is no easy feat. I not only want to know how that animal lives it’s life, but also how it meets it’s end. Gareth and I had a discussion about abattoirs, I know the next thing I need to do is spend some time in one. A decision I am told by family, will scar me for life. That said, how can we all feel so happy eating meat yet not brave enough to face the bare facts about how that meat ends up at our table. In Norway, a visit to an abattoir is a school trip. Similarly in Alaska, a place very close to my heart, children know much more about the circle of life.
I even got to cuddle a couple of lambs which awakened my maternal cravings… I can’t wait until the day I can have my own homestead and my own small flock. The most endearing thing to me was hearing Gareth referring to different lambs with pet names, and better still he referred to this one lamb as ‘sweetheart’… (Sorry Gareth, this aside you are every inch the manly farmer grrr ). Call me what you will but this is music to my ears. I would happily plate up one of Gareth’s lambs, and might even be tempted to take a bite too.
Here at The Laden Table HQ I have been finalising the details of our June dinner which is being held at The Bivouac near Masham. The Bivouac at High Knowle Farm has had my attention for a long time, namely for their continued commitment to making decisions based on how they effect the environment. They offer a wonderful experience underpinned by sustainability. Their cafe is a really special place to dine, especially after a long walk through the nearby woods.