Localism is a hot topic and rightly so. We all want to buy the best ingredients that we can lay our hands on and to source as much as possible in our own locality. But to believe the publicists for some Country Hotels, one might think that every mouthful comes from the kitchen garden and surrounding pastures!
The reality is more challenging. In order to be self sufficient in eggs (for Hambleton Hall, the Bakery and Harts) we need 800 chickens which on a genuine free range plan might need 10 acres.
Luckily our friend Katie Machin from Windy Ridge Farm (pictured) does have more than 800 birds and produces brilliant free range eggs which improve our breakfast, desserts and Bakery products no end.
Nearby Vine Farm has mixed Monbeliard, and Jersey cows with their Holsteins to give a creamier milk which flows through to the panna cotta and custards as well as the capuccino.
Our own kitchen garden makes us self sufficient in many herbs and delivers a shed load of courgette flowers, salads, and berries in season. But come Christmas, eggs, milk, lamb, beef, pheasants,
venison and stilton will still be local …but we won’t be relying on Rutland for salads, oranges or mangos!