Greetings from our base in Ripon. With spring sprung, and the
clocks moving forwards, I also wanted to use my update this month
to talk about the seasons, and, more specifically, food
If you haven't yet ordered for Easter, I highly recommend doing so sooner
rather than later as demand for delivery slots is high. Our
delivery slots include Good Friday and Easter Saturday this
It is our most exciting Easter range yet, with Jeff Baker's
chef-prepared creations adding a new collection of roasting joints
to try. He has taken inspiration from the landscapes and flavours
on our doorstep in Ripon to pair our luscious meats with seasonal
flavours that are local to us.
For us at Farmison & Co, Easter is the beginning of Spring.
In the food business, the change of the seasons is fundamental, and
especially for our hard-working farmers. For our partners in the
Dales, Spring is announced through the graft of lambing. Most
people never get to experience lambing, and I hadn't either until I
founded Farmison & Co ten years ago. It's a visceral and
uncompromising experience, and it vividly shows what Spring is
about - new life.
A good lambing season - or a bad winter - can make or break
livelihoods in this region. A connection to the seasons like this
remains strongest in the farming community. While the majority of
city dwellers at least used to eat seasonally, a walk down the
supermarket aisle on any day of the year will show crops from all
over the globe.
This disconnection with where food actually comes from, when to
eat it, and what to eat it with, can be damaging. I keep a keen eye
on consumer trends, and too often I find, a sustainable diet is
equated with a plant-based diet that features heavily crops from
halfway around the world and out of season. Is there anything
better than a ripe English strawberry in June or July, and is there
anything worse than a brittle out-of-season imitation? I caught
myself chiding my sister in law for cooking a Sunday lunch complete
Furthermore, it is no good switching to a plant-based diet for
sustainability reasons if these plants come from chemical-intensive
and monoculture systems, transported from all over the globe.
Now, I am not saying importing food is a bad thing, far from it,
but I am saying seasonality should be central to the discourse that
surrounds sustainability. It is a tragic irony that climatic change
to seasonal weather patterns in the form of high temperatures and
unpredictable rainfall could wreak havoc for British farmers -
those who have most connection to the seasons.
The recent 'Farming for Change' report from the Food, Farming,
& Countryside Commission looks at ways British agriculture can
reduce its carbon footprint. For instance, it notes that to make
strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, vegetable production
needs to be seasonal.
There's a bigger picture here, of which seasonality is part.
Interestingly, it also argues that while livestock have become "the
climate villain" of global agriculture, they can be a part of the
footprint reduction. I believe a change in the reputation of
livestock is afoot, as commentators realise there is a huge divide
in standards at home and abroad. Nuance and holistic views are
needed. Livestock aren't necessarily baddies, they provide
essential services, especially in terms of soil regeneration and
enhancing the biodiversity of grasslands.
At Farmison & Co we see it every day. At our suppliers
Beswick Hall, their Belted Galloways are part of the ecosystem in
the wetlands they graze. Up in Wharfedale, David Harrison's
Galloways graze the limestone pavement and through their selective
grazing encourage rare plants and wild flowers to grow.
For many farmers in these parts, like those lambing at the
moment, the report's arguments will echo received wisdom. Of course
we should eat seasonally; of course cattle and sheep are good for
soil; of course their presence supports an array of other species.
I believe consuming food - including meat - that is produced from
close to home is the way forward, and certainly should be part of
the sustainability conversation which includes eating
As ever, if you have any thoughts or feedback, please do write
to me via [email protected] I always make time to read your
John Pallagi - CEO & Founder