Poultry with Provenance, Lamb with Class
and Regional British Cheeses from Farmison
Just over a week ago I received the most amazing box of British meat and cheeses from Farmison. Farmison is an on-line company that sources prime British meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables, pantry ingredients and cheese – they are members of The Guild of Fine Food and offer some wonderful produce, all delivered to your door. I was sent a meat and cheese box, and I was truly over the moon when I opened it; there was a Goosnargh corn-fed chicken, a leg of Herdwick lamb, some high quality cheese biscuits from Stag, several delicious Shepherd’s Purse cheeses from Yorkshire to include Monks Folly, Harrogate Blue and Bluemin White, as well as some oat coated Caboc from Scotland and a fine piece of Cheddar. All the produce had provenance and it was all British, and in light of the horse meat scandal recently, that is the way it should be all the time – supporting local farmers and businesses, whilst knowing that you are eating.
With such a box of amazing produce, I went into a tail spin about what I was going to cook! I felt like a kid in a sweet shop, so on the evening that my box arrived, I decided to plan my menu over a glass of wine and some cheese and biscuits. I LOVE all of the cheeses from Shepherd’s Purse, but I haven’t tried their Monks Folly cheese yet, so that was first on the menu! Monks Folly is a classic mould ripened cheese, made to a recipe which is believed to have been used by the Monks of a nearby Abbey, it has a crisp clean flavour and a chalky texture on the inside when young, but it changes with age and becomes soft and ripe and develops a fuller, more rounded flavour……it’s produced using Yorkshire cows milk from cattle local to the Shepherd’s Purse farm.
I have enjoyed Harrogate Blue and Bluemin White many times before, and was delighted to have them included in the box. Bluemin White is a soft, creamy, mould ripened cows milk cheese. Ripening from the outside in developing an almost Brie like texture with a velvety blue rind. It is matured in our ripening store to encourage the blue rind, which gives this cheese its character. Bluemin White softens from the rind to the centre as it matures and develops a sweet and creamy taste.
Harrogate Blue is an exclusive golden bodied, delicate blue-veined cheese made with milk from classy Yorkshire cows. Harrogate Blue is a soft and luxuriously creamy cheese delivering a mellow blue flavour with a hint of pepper to finish.
I have tried and tested all the cheeses now, and I LOVE the pinhead coated Caboc cheese, a fine Scottish cheese that was amazing when served with oatcakes and a wee dram of Single Malt! The biscuits and crackers were also of the highest quality with the Stornoway Water Biscuits being my favourites.
The jewel in the crown was undoubtedly the chicken (and the lamb), and we had the chicken for Sunday lunch last week, using my Honey Roast Chicken with Winter Roots recipe. The chicken I was sent came from the famous producers of Goosnargh chickens, Swainson House Farm, and it was succulent and tender with a delicate and yet pronounced flavour, and that’s what I meant in my title when I said “poultry with provenance”. The chickens are slow-grown, and reared on a totally natural diet without additives, growth promoters or antibiotics. All of this is more than evident in the taste…….
The lamb has also been cooked and I will be sharing that recipe very soon, suffice to say it was delectable, with a herbal flavour that Herdwick lamb so often has. Herdwick sheep are the native breed of the central and western Lake District and live on the highest of England’s mountains. They are extremely hardy and are managed in the traditional way on the Lake District fells that have been their home for generations. The word “Herdwyck”, meaning sheep pasture, is recorded in documents going back to the 12th century. Herdwick sheep are the most hardy of all Britain’s breeds of hill sheep, grazing the central and western dales of the Lake District with fells running to over 3000 feet.The Farmison box I was sent was top quality and would make a wonderful gift for Easter or Mothering Sunday, or for any other occasion throughout the year. At Farmison & Co everything they do is driven by taste – from finding the best possible suppliers, to focusing on seasonal, predominantly British produce, to developing delivery systems which get orders out to our customers at optimum quality. Farmison & Co is the brainchild of John Pallagi and Lee Simmonds; two old friends who share a love of fantastic food with real flavour and a genuine admiration for great British artisan farmers and producers. They wanted other people to experience the sort of food that they love and having previously been restaurateurs, they had the expertise and the right contacts to make it happen. So they made it their mission to create a place where people who love great tasting food could go to buy outstandingly good produce from small specialist suppliers – and the Farmison & Co website was born. I have to say I am a convert! Monthly boxes and gift hampers can be purchased on-line here: GIFT BOXES & HAMPERS
The Lavender and Lovage verdict: Excellent produce, of the highest quality and with provenance, delivered on time and was well packed. The choice and variety in the box was superb, with a bespoke feel to it. Prices on the website are competitive with top-end supermarkets with the convenience of armchair shopping. I give this a VERY well-deserved 5 out of 5 for quality, British produce available, service and concept.
Disclaimer: I was sent the box as described above for free and was not required to write a positive review; I was very impressed with this on-line shopping service and wanted to share the experience with my readers. All views and opinions are my own. With thanks to Farmison for sending me this fabulous box to review. Karen S Burns-Booth