As the first buds of spring begin to show themselves on the farm and even dotted across the path on our London neighbourhood walks, we are gearing up for a flood of fresh produce into our restaurant. After what we call a 'fallow period' (a lull in available seasonal produce), this is a fantastic time for farmers, chefs, and restauranteurs!
On the farm in West Sussex, the calving and lambing season gets underway. Our co-owner Gregory Gladwin is the man on the ground at the farm.
Through calving season in April, Gregory is on duty all night to ensure that the thoroughbred Simmental cows deliver their calves without complications. The cows are cared for and fed in the barns through the worst of the winter, but this is also where we keep them when calving. One can undoubtedly sense that they know that the reward for successful calving is returning to the spring pasture with their young 'at foot'.
Once lambing and calving are both through, we turn our attention to the summer ahead, and this particular spring, Gregory is hard at work preparing some very exciting oyster stands made from used wine barrels. These will have pride of place at all of our restaurants. And are the centre of our offering through spring and summer.
Oliver and the chefs have been receiving whole Oxford Sandy and Black pigs from the farm to break down. These high welfare pigs come into our central HQ at just under 100 kilograms, so it is a full day's work to butcher them, producing prime cuts from chops and belly to less recognised cuts used in slow-cooked dishes and stocks. Served with fantastic fresh vegetables from the surrounding Sussex farms and those further afield (we cannot wait for some Jersey Royals!), this pork will turn out stunning dishes in the dining room!
To learn more about the Gladwin farm and its livestock, visit the website by clicking here.