HERD: Behind the scenes

For those of you getting your boxes over the next month you’ll be lucky enough to receive a free copy of our seasonal newspaper, HERD!

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We thought we’d give you a sneaky peek into the behind the scenes of our photo shoot.

We were lucky enough to have a fantastic customer who let us use her garden for the shoot (you know who you are!) and we can’t be thankful enough.

It was a beautiful day and we were joined by food photographer, Lucy Richards, who captured our produce and recipes perfectly.

6 BBQ’s and a lot of meat later we were happy with the results and couldn’t wait to get cracking with the final edit of our magazine. Don’t worry, no food went to waste! We had a hungry team on hand to help polish up any leftovers.

We hope you enjoy your copy of HERD. Let us know what your favourite recipe is!

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Meet Rob Mercer, our pig farmer.

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 15.38.09Photo: Farmer Rob Mercer

In today’s modern world, too much emphasis is placed on speedy results and an ever–lower cost, regardless of the impact on animal welfare and the environment.

At Packington Farm, in the heart of rural Staffordshire, our pork farmer Rob Mercer believes what is good for the animals and the land will be naturally good for humankind. This was the philosophy of his great grandfather before him and we at field&flower whole-heartedly agree that it’s the key to sustainable food, for the long term.

Rob and his farmer brother Alec are fourth generation farmers. Their family have been farming since 1930 and today the story remains the same, it’s still very much a family affair. Like his Great Grandfather, who began farming pedigree large white pigs and award-winning dairy herds, Rob has focused his experience and passion to provide a low density, environmentally sound and welfare-oriented farm. His father Rodger used to be a conventional indoor pig farmer. “Growing up I always used to work on the pig farm during the holidays, and I used to love working with the pigs. By the time I came back from University my father had stopped farming pigs and I decided to set up an outdoor breeding farm at Packington and to start rearing free-range pigs. I wanted the pigs to have lots of space and to lead good lives, and to provide pork which tasted great”.

Old Mercr Family PicturePhoto: 1974, the team at Harlaston Farm, the boys’ Great Grandpa (Percy) centre of photo with the hat on, Grandpa (Alec) to the right with the tie and Dad (Rodger) to his right with the check shirt.

It’s not just us at field&flower who believe Rob’s pork is the best you can get, Freedom Foods RSPCA have accredited Packington Pork with the RSPCA Assured label. This gives you complete confidence that the animals have had a good life from start to finish. The RSPCA’s welfare standards are written by the RSPCA’s team of scientific officers in the Farm Animals Department, and are based on leading scientific, veterinary and practical industry expertise.

The journey of the pig on Packington farm

From the day the pigs are born, they’re raised on the farm enjoying plenty of space to roam free and play in the mud with an average stocking density of 60 square foot per pig. Once weaned off their mother’s milk at around 4 weeks old the pigs are fed a very high quality diet, high in milk powder, which gives the piglets all the vital nutrients they need, including selenium, a mineral which offers health benefits for both pigs and humans. As they grow they are moved into the spacious outdoor rearing paddocks, with tents for
shelter and lots of space to exercise, they have the perfect conditions to exhibit natural behaviour in grassy pastures. This practice is key to Rob’s success, “I always think that
the pigs’ environment needs to be good enough for humans. Pigs need space to roam, clean water, good quality food and a warm dry place to sleep. They need this 365 days of the year. A happy pig is a healthy pig and happy and healthy pigs produce great tasting pork.”

‘Pigs need space to roam, clean water, good quality food and a warm dry place to sleep. of the year’They need this 365 days

Once the pigs reach 24 weeks (6 months) old, they are then ready to be humanely killed under the watchful eye of local vets in an accredited processing facility.

The breed

Rob breeds Duroc crossed with Large White Boars. These pigs are renowned for having fantastic mothering qualities as well as being strong and most importantly having the best tasting pork. To field&flower, assuring the pigs are reared naturally without additives, growth promoters or antibiotics is just as important.

Looking after the environment

Rob’s respect is not only reserved for his livestock but for the environment in which they live too. Packington Farm are involved in a number of environmental schemes, such as the Countryside Stewardship project, where fields are given a 3m wide margin in order to encourage insect biodiversity. Not only this, but the boys have been working closely with RSPB to build on the declining population of Lapwing birds. By opening up two fields, the Lapwings are left to breed before going down to the lower lands to feed. Within a five year period, there has been an increase of over 300%. The farm has also invested in 400KW of solar panels to help offset their carbon emissions.

Getting the most out of the pork

It’s a real family operation at Packington and whilst Rob and brother Alec are busy running the farm, wives Sal and Pip are creating wonderful recipes to get the most out of the free-range pork.

IMG_9736Pork is the second most popular meat after chicken at field&flower and it comes as no surprise, ‘James and I are really pleased to be working with Rob Mercer. His pork is the best we’ve ever tasted and this is testament to the way he cares for his pigs. We are confident that you can’t get better proper free-range pork’. – James

A field&flower farewell

IMG_8004This month we sadly say good bye to Jess who’s been with us for very close to a year. Jess started with us fresh out of university in our customer membership team, she then moved to our customer loyalty team after Christmas as we figured she’d definitely got to know our lovely customers after that busy period! Jess is off on an adventure to live in Santiago, Chile, but just before she goes she reflects on her time with us here at field&flower….

 

I’d definitely be lying if I said the decision to leave my much loved family, friends and job was an easy one. After many sleepless nights, long discussions with James and James, and endless Google searches on Santiago I decided to uproot and emigrate there. Having never been to South America or even uttered a word of Spanish, it definitely seems daunting. As we all know, emigration goes hand in hand with impending goodbyes – it’s certain that I’m going to struggle to bid adieu to the amazing team I’ve been so lucky to be a part of here at field&flower. Fears of life in the Big Bad Working World we all hear so much about throughout both school and university quickly became redundant the minute I walked through the field&flower doors. Not only was I greeted by many smiley, friendly faces but also by a teeny tiny Arthur weeing with excitement at a new presence in the office.

I really could talk about how brilliant my team are here but I feel like you, as our loyal customers, already understand this from your interactions with us, ranging from telephone conversations, email exchanges or of course at our lovely meat-up events… I think I’ll save the emotional team spiel for the good-byes later this week.

The most important and invaluable lesson I’ve learnt in my time with this wonderful business is that it really is extremely important to pay attention to where your food comes from. Before starting my role here, I took little to no interest in the provenance of my food. Alarmingly, this also included the meat I was eating. I was under the impression that buying British (of any kind!) meat equated to both quality and animal welfare standards that I felt to be adequate. Now, much to the annoyance of my friends and family I’m a total stickler for 100% free-range, high welfare meat, preferably with a farm name, slaughter date and breed where applicable, and now I quite simply refuse to compromise. I don’t think it’s being difficult or demanding, I think it comes from a deeper understanding of the meat industry and farming with regards to the potential environmental impacts, as well as the welfare standards of the animals that have been reared to produce what’s on our plates. Field&flower has taught me that good quality, high welfare meat isn’t overpriced and unnecessary but actually very reasonably priced and the only sustainable option. When purchasing meat, we mustn’t forget that we are effectively buying part of an animal. This animal’s rearing can have detrimental environmental implications if not done sustainably, not to mention that the animals can live distressed, unfair lives with little room to move nor express natural behaviours. SO thank you, our customers for also taking the time and interest to source your meat from us and allowing our business to both exist and flourish. I sincerely hope that more and more people will migrate to our free-range only camp in the not so distant future.

I’ll always be part of the field&flower family and everything I’ve learnt here will never leave me.

Thanks for reading.

Jess

#FOREVERFREERANGE #FIELDANDFLOWER #NOCOMPROMISES #LESSBUTBETTER

field&flower’s favourite summer side recipes

You’ve got the meat, now it’s time to create some show stopping sides for your summer table. We all know how temperamental the British weather can be so here are some of our favourite sides that are super quick and easy to cook at those last minute BBQs…

 

Baked Sweet Potato with Garlic YoghurtScreen Shot 2016-07-14 at 16.03.43

  1. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork or knife. Rub each potato with olive oil and salt and wrap in two layers of foil.
  2. To oven cook: place the potatoes in the centre of a preheated oven at 180C and cook for 45 minutes.
  3. To BBQ: place the potatoes on the hot coals and cook for 15-20 minutes on each side.
  4. To serve, mix greek yoghurt with minced garlic and garnish with black pepper, chives and pomegranate.

Griddled Cauliflower Steaks with Pesto

  1. Cut cauliflower into large slices, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Place a griddle pan on a high heat and add the cauliflower to the pan. Griddle on each side for 6-7 minutes.
  3. Serve with pesto drizzled over the top and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Stir Fried Spring GreensScreen Shot 2016-07-14 at 15.37.38

  1. Chop asparagus and tenderstem broccoli into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a wok, add oil and let it reach a high temperature. Add the asparagus and broccoli and keep the pan moving for around 2 minutes.
  3. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and stir fry for a further minute.
  4. Finish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and serve.

 

Roasted New Potatoes

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C and place 2 tablespoons of coconut oil into a roasting tray and place in the centre of your oven for 5 minutes.
  2. Chop the new potatoes in half and add to the melted coconut oil, making sure that all sides of the potatoes are coated in oil. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
  3. Transfer the tray back to the oven and cook for a further 35 minutes, moving the potatoes half way through to ensure for an even bake.

WIN a copy of Madeleine Shaw’s new book

Ready Steady Glow

All you have to do to get your hands on it is answer this one simple question below. IMG_2392

What is Maddy’s favourite type of meat?

A) Lamb

B) Beef

C) Chicken

Comment below or head to our social pages to enter the competition. Competition ends Thursday 21st July. Good luck!

 

 

 

#NationalFishingWeek

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Written by Alice the chef.

It’s National Fishing Week and what better way to celebrate it than with our new range of fish. It’s a great healthy option and perfect for light meals for those Summer evenings!

My first memory of fishing goes back to catching a Dover Sole on the South coast and taking it him for dinner on the BBQ that night. My sister named it Bob in the attempt to make us feel bad about eating it but unfortunately this didn’t work. My sister has been a vegetarian since…

But for those fish lovers out there, you’ll be glad to know that our fish is highly sustainable! Our fishermen are based at two of the largest and most sustainable fishing ports in the West Country; Newlyn and Brixham. Our fish is caught using traditional line caught methods on slow-moving day boats, which means they catch fish by towing a lure or baited hook and return to the port the same day, guaranteeing the freshest catch.

Our fish range is always growing and reflects the changing seasons. Currently we have 12 options available.

Our most popular fish options to date include the following:

  1. Salmon fillets
  2. Fish Pie mix
  3. Cod fillets
  4. Hake fillets
  5. Mackerel fillets

We also have a great range of fish recipes available on our website at the moment, including our Monkfish Kebabs (perfect for the BBQ!) and a light and tasty recipe for Cod with Chermoula. For more recipes click here.

Ask-Alice-

Let us know how you’ll be cooking your fish this week! Or tweet/tag pictures to @fieldandflower with the #ASKAlice hashtag.
For more information on our fish please click here.