Living

This Valentine’s Day, love the people behind your food

10th February 2016

In our book, there’s much more to Valentine’s day than red roses and buying out of season strawberries. Every time you grab a bite of a Farmdrop shop, you’re eating a little slice of our farmers’ and food makers’ passion for making great food, for you.

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A few members of the Farmdrop family, clockwise top left to right: Steve, co-founder of Growing Underground, Justin, head baker at Bread Ahead, farmer Rally at Purton House Organics, farmer David Deme and his son Ben at Chegworth Valley Farm, co-founders & farmers Nick & Jacob at Fosse Meadows Farm, founder & farmer Rowie at Purton House Organics, Adrienne, the ‘Pork Whisperer’ managing director of Crown & Queue Meats, on the farm at Hinxden dairy.

Yes, it sounds a little cheesy (and on the subject of cheese we’ll take the British Brie Baron Bidgod as a V-day gift thanks very much) but it’s true. Every single item of food that lands on your doorstep with Farmdrop has been made with barn-loads of care and attention, and by the hands of actual people with names and faces full of the glee for doing what they love, everyday.

There are the families who pass on the love of the craft of those that went before them, individuals who’ve started a new life to create something new and beautiful, and communities who are brought together by the values they share.

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Rowie pulling up spring onions at Purton House Organics farm in Wiltshire.

Farmer Rowie Meers at Purton House Organics continues a loving line of family farming with her daughters, nephews and nieces at their 70 hectare farm in the idyll of Wiltshire. She is the living epitome of ethical farming and has a great respect for nature, it’s in her blood. Everything at Purton House puts the environment and the animals first: “Growing a seed into a vegetable or fruit or plant, organically, as nature intended is such a buzz for me. I have to stay true to my roots.”

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Justin with his wholemeal sourdough loaves at the Bread Ahead bakery in Borough.

Mavericks of dough owner Matt Jones and head baker Justin Gellatly at Bread Ahead have carved out a very special (and delicious) niche in traditional bread making. Matt previously founded the organic bakery Flour Power and Justin left St John Bakery to bring with him legendary hand-shaped sourdoughs and the oft quoted best doughnuts in London – what Justin loves to affectionately call ‘pillows of joy’. When not working they are ‘still thinking about bread’.

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Richard, Lucy and Cemal outside their roastery in Peckham.

Life-changers Richard Robinson and Cemal Ezel started their coffee business Old Spike Roastery inspired by a strong belief in supporting the community and creating positive change. They gathered together their savings, took out a bank loan and set up a 100% not-for-profit company exclusively to help local homeless people. The relationship with their staff reads a bit like a love story: “Our first person was Lucy – she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” Cemal says. “She used to sell The Big Issue, and if she hadn’t been given this opportunity, no one would have given her a chance. Now the shop can’t operate without her.”

Now we know it’s easy to throw around words like ‘love’ and ‘passion’ at this time of year, (especially after one bite of a gooey, hot Comptoir Gourmand chocolate fondant, we’re anyone’s) but with our community of farmers and foodmakers, it’s the hand-on-heart, honest truth. Growing, rearing, catching and making the best food possible is why they get out of bed in the morning (at 2am to be precise for Sally and her siblings at Hinxden Dairy!). This lovely lot simply wouldn’t dream of doing anything else.

So instead of impulse buying shiny balloons this Valentine’s Day, share the love of your local food producers. We hope, for you, it’ll literally be love at first bite.

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