Buttervilla and the Modern Salad Grower by Jane Sarchet
Tucked away in the far east of Cornwall is a collection of artisan growers that supply some of the country’s top restaurants with fresh salads, vegetables and herbs. This month’s sourcing trip included a trip to two of these, Buttervilla itself, and The Modern Salad Grower.
<img class="wp-image-9213 size-thumbnail alignright" src="https://www.fifteencornwall simvastatin 20 mg tablet.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Fifteen-Buttervilla-2162-300×206.jpg” alt=”Fifteen – Buttervilla-2162″ width=”300″ height=”206″ />The morning’s adventure kicked off at Buttervilla, the home of Gill and Robert Hocking, where they grow the sweet and juicy heritage tomatoes that you’ll find on the Fifteen Cornwall menu right now.
Their polytunnels are sited on a gentle south facing slope in the Tamar Valley which has been renowned for the very best Cornish produce for hundreds of years.
As the students tasted their produce,
including black tomatoes alongside the more common red and orange ones, they all agreed the taste was superb and a little sprinkle of salt or dash of balsamic dressing were all that were needed to heighten the flavours.
It’s starting to sink in with the students that if you start with exceptional ingredients, your job as chef is already halfway done for you. However, if you start with tasteless, bland produce then you’ll have to jump through hoops to make it taste good.
We then moved on to see Sean at The Modern Salad Grower who gave us a fascinating tour of his farm and the whopping 450 varieties of salads, leaves, edible flowers he grows there.
The poly tunnels were stacked up with tray after tray of micro herbs, sprouts and leaves at various stages of their short growing cycle, and the apprentice chefs got to nibble on the different leaves and shoots as they went round.
19 year old Louis, who previously moved to Cornwall from London, seemed particularly impressed at the intense flavours of the tiny herbs and appreciated seeing where the produce he’s become used to working with in the kitchen comes from.
After a wander round the fields where the students pulled up carrots and picked various flowers and leaves we headed back to the appropriately named ‘Tea Tunnel’ and the young trainee chefs were split into three groups. One group had to use the mornings pickings to create a selection of canapés, the second group were on starters and the final group had to come up with a main course.
They got right down to business planning and how to put together the various elements they had access to. Not only was it a great pleasure watching them work, but the spread they put on for us was outstanding. Well done.