Super Supperclub in a Barn!
Anna Louise Batchelor - 19 November 2013
I’ve written before on my love of supperclubs and how fantastic it is that organic chefs are embracing them as a way of connecting diners to where their dinner comes from. So when I got the chance to eat at Sandy Lane Farm’s supperclub in the farms very own barn I jumped up the opportunity.
I was told two things before attending; 1) The supperclub was ‘rustic’ 2) To dress warm and bring a torch. Taking a torch out to dinner is a new on me, but dressed something like a Tsarina in my Cossack hat, heavy winter coat and riding boots, I was prepared! I won’t lie it was a freezing cold, frosty night as I arrived at the farm but the welcome could not be warmer as I entered the barn.
Romantically lit and adorned with seasonal squashes, the barn was like something out of a Russian fairy tale. However I wasn’t here to eat the bears Porridge, Instead we were served a wonderful three course meal full of ingredients sourced from the farm.vThe warming first course of Spinach & Parsley soup with nutmeg was very welcome. Quickly followed by farm reared Pork and, for me the highlight of the menu, the wonderful farm grown organic veg. The evening was rounded off with convivial conversation, beautiful stringed music and fantastic Musquee de Provence Pumpkin Pie.
The farm feast was cooked for us by Chef Lauren Scott. With 60 dinners to prepare in a pretty rudimentary kitchen, Lauren ran the night with precision (we all ate at the same time) and to a high standard (everything cooked to perfection). It was also a real family affair with farm owners Charles and Sue Bennett working the kitchen and the next generation of family farmers George and Cate running front of house.
At the end of the night I got a chance to look round the farm shop, admire the array of squashes, buy some proper, full cream, unhomogenised North Aston Dairy milk and talk shop with George Bennett. We talked about the future of farming, ‘next generation’ and supply and demand for organic produce. It’s really heartening against the backdrop of the predicted shortage of farmers to hear George’s plans for the future. It’s also great to see generations of a family working the land together, holding 25 years of organic farming in stewardship for the future.
I hope this blog post encourages you too, to attend one of Sandy Lane Farm’s super supperclub nights. You can also buy Sandy Lane produce from their farm shop or find them at a range of great markets around Oxfordshire like the East Oxford Community run market.
Anna Louise Batchelor is an environmental scientist who has worked in academia, government and industry. For the last six years she has been part of Reading's True Food Co-op.