Bre-Pen Farm Sourcing Trip written by Apprentice Carla Viladomat
I have been selected to be an Apprentice at Fifteen Cornwall. We just had our first week called Induction week, where we got to meet and start being part of the Fifteen Cornwall Family, which I am so proud to be part of! On the second day of Induction week we got to do our first sourcing trip, I was so excited as I think it is very important to get to know where your produce comes from and how it grows and when animals are involved how they are treated before they come into your kitchen and to your plate. Also as you might know already Fifteen always tries to work with local and seasonal ingredients.
It was a lovely sunny spring day so Cohort 9 and three members of staff including Training and Development Chef Karl Jones embarked on a lovely coastal walk towards Bre-Pen Farm. On the way to the Farm, Chef Karl gave us a small foraging lesson- can you believe that we found over five edible plants on a walk that was less than 2 miles? I took a few pictures of what we foraged. If you want to try any make sure you are with someone that knows them well as there are very similar plants to for example wild garlic and alexanders that are poisonous. Wild garlic is a fresh way of eating garlic and you can eat their very pretty white flowers. I had never tried Sea Beets before but it is much like a meaty spinach/chard leaf.
Gorse flowers have a prickly bush with lovely yellow flowers that taste like pineapple, hard to believe I know, but they do!
Alexanders are out at the moment, you can see them growing everywhere here in Cornwall and I never knew you could eat it! The taste is between celery and parsley, Karl explained it was grown by the Romans and they where the ones who introduced it to western and central Europe including the British Isles.
Dandelion used since Victorian times in salads and sandwiches, a very nice edible flower and leaf.
Nettles that have a spinach and cucumber flavour, but you must be careful when cutting and make sure to blanch them before eating.
We then arrived to the farm that is ran by a friendly couple Rod and Jill they bought the farm in 1996 and it is now part of the National Trust.
They received us with a very warm smile, cups of tea and coffee and their very own famous lemon drizzle cake that is exceptionally good. Rod took us on a tour around the farm and showed us their amazing grounds and their grass-fed lamb. He explained, when looking for a good lamb you must check three things; udders, teeth and feet as they need to be able to walk and eat and for ewes be able to give milk. Bre-Pen Farm has two types of sheep the Dorset ram, which they use for breeding and the Hampshire down which are some of the ones that are supplied to Fifteen Restaurant.
They have a few chickens for eggs and they also run their little farm shop that sells their produce and other local produce like vegetables, home made jams and chutneys plus a little café restaurant in which they serve cream teas, homemade cakes, light lunches and some nights they organise supper clubs.
After a walk around the grounds Jill and the team made us some amazing lamb burgers of course from their own Sheep- they were yummy! I can’t wait for the next sourcing trip it was a very illustrative day and I will never forget this experience.