As the days draw in and the temperature cools, British farmers are busy harvesting their autumn-ready crops – it’s no wonder that the mellow month of October is traditionally when we celebrate the Harvest Festival.
On Tuesday 5th October the team at the family-owned Boxford (Suffolk) Farms and sister company, Stoke by Nayland Resort, enjoyed marking the official start to the apple and pear season, hosting celebrity chef – and President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association – Raymond Blanc for a very special event.
Industry body British Apples and Pears held the event, hosted at the Resort, to share the release of the Royal Agricultural University’s sustainability report, which reveals that our delicious British apples are a green choice for consumers. And, where better to promote this than at a business that produces more green energy than they use?
The day started with guests donning their wellie boots and taking a tour of the Boxford (Suffolk) Farms orchards, accompanied by the team at the farm, who demonstrated the stringent process of picking and testing quality apples. Within the 291 acres of these well-established orchards, founded by the Peake Family in 1938, the guests were able to pick and sample some of the delicious varieties grown in the stunning Dedham Vale’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
After working up an appetite, everyone headed to the idyllically located Stoke by Nayland Golf, Spa & Lodges Resort, for a bespoke apple-and-pear-themed menu created by Executive Chef, Alan Paton. Although the pressure must have been high for Alan and his team to cook for such a talented and renowned chef as Raymond Blanc, they took it in their stride and served up a delicious array of beautiful dishes including Gala apple braised pork belly open sandwich with maple-glazed pancetta crackling and Braeburn apple and baron bigod “bread and butter pudding”.
“It was an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to create and cook a menu for Raymond Blanc at the British Apples and Pears event. He is a chef that I have admired for many years and, when talking to him, his passion for food and British produce shines through” said Alan. “I have achieved a lot to be proud of in my career, but for myself and my team to receive such high praise from Raymond is certainly up there with my proudest moments.”