The provenance of our food and drink is at the heart of what we are about.
All our eggs are free range, our milk is organic, and we are prepared to pay a little more for our meat in order to ensure, that whenever possible, it comes from local farms with the highest standards of animal welfare.
We do our best to cut down the air and road miles too and, where ingredients or produce have to come from overseas, they are ethically or fairly traded. Wherever possible, we try to source our ingredients and produce from small, family run, artisan businesses like our own.
Below is a little about a small selection of our suppliers to give you an idea as to why we go to the lengths we do to ensure we know exactly what you are putting in your mouth and how and where it was sourced.
Letheringsett Watermill is the last remaining watermill in Norfolk to produce flour. Dave explains how the recently re-dressed millstones can be set to grind wheat and spelt to each customer's exacting requirements.
Michelle has taken over the running of the mill, inherited from her parents, and is keen to continue their craft and traditions.
She has been feeding us with advice and samples to try out for the varying demands of our artisan rolls, homemade pizza dough and pot-pie pastry - not to mention the trade secrets to produce light, moist, delectable cakes!
At Fresh Pac they roast all their coffee in-house to exacting standards, keeping total control of roast quality. This then allows them to buy directly from the small coffee farmers (who do not have the scale to afford such equipment); they deal with as many as twenty farmers from Columbia alone. By cutting out the middle men, they can be assured that the money goes to directly to the producers.
Legally, cider makers are under no obligation to declare how much juice their product contains. But in 2010, a legal minimum juice content was established in cooperation with the National Association of Cider Makers. These big supermarket suppliers decided that, in order to be called cider, a product must boast a minimum juice content of… 35%.
The rest can be water, sugar, caramel and other colourings or flavourings. Meanwhile, the consumer is left happily believing they are drinking fermented apple juice.
At Whinhill, Mark explained how his cider was made from 100% apple juice with apple varieties pressed from his own orchards near Wells-next-to sea.
Our favourite was pure Browns.
Dale is Butchery Manager at Clarke's in Bramfield near Halesworth. He explains how he knows from which farm every one of his cow carcases comes.
Dale shows how the marbling and colour varies in the free-range pork from Blythburgh. It is well known the very best pork eating quality can only be achieved by rearing pigs in an extensive, natural environment in which confinement and stress can be mitigated.
Delving deeper, we wanted to see where our pork might be reared. We went to meet Richard and Vic, only a stone's throw away, who are breeding one of the rarest breeds of pig called 'The British Lop' , a large, white pig, it is named for its large ears which hang over its face.
Vic explains that part of the reason these pigs are so rare is that, despite being technically called 'white', they are actually pink and just look like today's hybrid pigs. So, rare pig breeders chose more recognisable breeds such as the orange coloured Tamworth or the distinctly marked Saddleback and Gloucester Old Spot varieties.
But whatever they look like, the flavour of this traditional, native breed is second to none and just how Grandma remembers pork tasting.
It's not just us who like a fuller flavour, the pigs enjoy foraging amongst the trees and go wild for acorns and beechnuts when they drop in the autumn.
Richard and Vic talk fondly about all their animals, many of them, such as Churchill their breeding bore, they know individually by name. Richard explained how he accompanies the pigs to the slaughter house (after having spent days acclimatising them to the trailer by putting their evening feed in it), so that he can be sure they are treated properly right to the end.
From farm to fork - provenance is everything - the way Vic and Richard at the Thatched House Farm rear pigs in shaded woodland epitomises this!
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