HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO visited Surrey Hills producers and retailers to experience first-hand their ‘field to fork’ collaboration, following the path from ‘Provenance Cuts’ at Coverwood Farm, to Surrey Hills Butchers and Squires Food Hall in Frensham.
The Countess’s visit highlighted the importance of local food production, the challenges and opportunities facing farmers and food producers due to Covid-19 and the opportunities to meet the growing interest in supporting and buying locally and sustainably.
The importance and popularity of locally produced food and “field to fork” tracing has never been higher – ticking all the boxes of sustainability, reduced carbon footprint, high-quality local collaboration and exceptional taste.
The royal visit began at Coverwood Farm near Peaslake where Her Royal Highness met Bill Biddell, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Surrey and farmer Tim Metson, his family and staff who produce pasture-fed beef.
Mr Metson spoke about the key challenges and opportunities faced by farmers as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and other issues facing farmers, including pasture-fed meat production.
HRH The Countess of Wessex officially opened the farm’s new ‘Provenance Cuts’ building, a new facility purpose built to process and butcher locally farmed, sustainable meat. Refreshments were served from the farm’s ‘airstream’ van, The Fillet and Bean, used to support villages with food and drink during the lock-down.
HRH The Countess of Wessex continued her “field to fork” visit to the Food Hall at Squire’s Garden Centres in Frensham where she was introduced to Wendy Varcoe, Executive Director of Surrey Hills Enterprises, who explained the collaboration between Surrey Hills Members awarded the Trade Mark Surrey Hills, a Mark of local provenance, quality and sustainability.
Her Royal Highness met Sarah Squires, Chairman and Martin Breddy, Managing Director, who provided a tour around the Food Hall showcasing local produce and meeting staff who had worked throughout the lock down to provide food for the local community.
Her Royal Highness met Simon Taylor of Surrey Hills Butchers and Captain of Team GB for Butchery and specializing in high quality, ethical and locally sourced pasture fed meat. Mr Taylor spoke about the importance of collaboration with local farms such as Coverwood Farm and the need to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable and ethically sourced food.
NOTES TO EDITOR
Contact: Maggie Howell, Tel. 01483 661150 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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About Surrey Hills:
The Surrey Hills is one of the first areas in the country to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It covers 25% of Surrey and with a 6-mile hinterland around the AONB it covers most of Surrey except the north western parts of the County.
About Surrey Hills Enterprises
Surrey Hills Enterprises is the Community Interest Company arm of the AONB. It was set up in 2012 to support and develop the rural economy and tourism and to promote and enhance the Surrey Hills.
Surrey Hills Enterprises core activities are focused on ‘clean growth’, environmental sustainability and building a strong local economy and tourism industry. It has a strong Membership of local businesses who receive business support including training, mentoring, collaboration and a Surrey Hills marketing platform.
About Coverwood Farm and Provenance Cuts
Coverwood Farm is a family run farm in the center of the Surrey Hills producing lamb and beef from its established herd of pasture fed pedigree Herefords and sheep. It has recently opened its ‘Provenance Cuts’ building, a center for processing meat. Coverwood Farm also offer holiday accommodation and a high end mobile Airstream style catering business known as The Fillet and Bean.
About Food Hall at Squire’s Garden Centres in Frensham
Squires was founded in 1935 by David (DJ) Squire. Today DJ’s son Colin is Chairman Emeritus of the company and continuing the family tradition Sarah, Colin’s daughter, is Chairman.
The Food Hall at Frensham was totally refurbished last winter and re-opened just before lockdown. As a food business it continued to trade during lockdown while the rest of the garden center was closed, serving the needs of local people so they did not need to travel so far. Their aims are to serve their local communities and to provide a route to market for local suppliers.
About Surrey Hills Butchers
Surrey Hills Butchers is run by owner Simon Taylor, a traditional butcher and Captain of Team GB for Butchery. Surrey Hills Butchers is based within the Squires Food Hall and source their meat from local Surrey Hills farms including Coverwood Farm and uses the ‘Provenance Cuts’ building to prepare the meat. Simon also has shop in Oxshott and at the new Seasons Farm Shop in Windlesham