Produce, whether meat, fish, grain, fruit or veg, is a result of its environment. How it is grown, reared or manufactured makes the difference between an average product or an outstanding one. The power of provenance is not lost on Sodexo. Choosing specialist suppliers and artisan producers for the ingredients they source is a crucial part of the supply chain that goes into creating delectable dishes and stunning suppers.
We recently visited three suppliers for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events venues with the purpose of capturing their unique processes on film; Red Oak Farm who produce Heritage Black Beef, Chalk Stream Foods – purveyors of wonderful rainbow trout, and Whitelake Cheese who this year were commissioned to make a special bespoke cheese especially for Royal Ascot.
This week, a trip to Northamptonshire and Red Oak Farm.
Set in water meadows, alongside the River Ouse almost 300 cattle graze. In an idyllic location, with plenty of room to roam, the cows are lovingly cared for by Farmer George Coles and his trusty Labrador Peter. The cattle spend almost 8 months in the field enjoying lush grass and the remainder of the year under cover to avoid harsh weather eating home grown feed, all sourced on site. George is a big believer in gentle and caring animal husbandry and declares, “the best farming practices mean happier cows and better beef”.
Through the wholesale butchers Nigel Fredericks, Red Oak Farm is one of the suppliers of the beef that falls under the Heritage Black brand, which is sourced from farms all over the UK and through a range of different breeds, from Red Angus to Simmental Cross.
Red Oak Farm prides itself on doing everything in house and keeping very close to the cattle. George says this keeps stress levels low ensuring the best taste. He states, “Cows born here, grow here and don’t go anywhere until slaughter”. Working with food heroes like George across the country ensure the large volumes required for events such as Royal Ascot, are met at the highest quality.
Check in with us next week to read about our trip to Chalk Stream Foods in Hampshire...
To learn more about Prestige Venues & Events provenance click here