Better Food Hits The Road For Organic September!

Photo of bread making with Tom Herbert at Hobbs House Cookery School with Better Food Organic September Road TripOnward to Hobbs House

We piled on board with our goodie bags, excited for the day ahead of us.  With Phil at the helm, we ventured to our first stop in Chipping Sodbury to visit master baker Tom Herbert at Hobbs House Bakery’s Cookery School. Tom’s warm welcome lead us through the fascinating (and in places gory!) history of the building itself and the Hobbs House story, including my personal favourite fact that they went for a record breaking ‘world’s fastest loaf’. They’re also proud of the fact that MD Trevor sold the first organic loaf in Bristol. We were treated to a taste of some of Hobbs House’s current organic loaves before moving on to make some of our own. This was a real team effort, with a couple of people on dough duty, followed by each of us taking turns at making a little loaf and whisking our own-made butter (which is super simple to make – just whisk double cream until butter appears, it’s like magic).

Discovering Bath Soft Cheese

After a delicious lunch full of conversation, we got back on the bus to wend our way through the countryside to meet Yarrick at Bath Soft Cheese’s HQ in Kelston.  We arrived in time to see him hard at work, pulling out of the whey, what was due to become much loved Wyfe Of Bath.  It was a real treat to see Bath Soft Cheese’s brand spanking new building, meaning that everything was set up to give us a fantastic view of the make room.  We took a tour of the ripening rooms afterwards, discovering how each cheese is made – the Bath Blue is hand needled (with just one needle!) to create the blue mould, taking about a minute each.  Yarrick was so knowledgeable, what he didn’t know about cheese, wasn’t worth knowing!

Frolicking at The Community Farm

With a lingering pause at the cheese shop, we made our way to gorgeous Chew Magna, home of The Community Farm  .  Our Phil played a big part of the development of the farm, so has a wealth of knowledge about the organic farming practises there.  He showed us around the lines of vegetables, mostly covered with mesh – it’s not unknown for deer to rock up and chomp down on all the tasty morsels.  We were lucky to be able to pick some well-chosen veggies of our own to take home. Not only were there lots of vegetables but a large amount of land was also dedicated to fertility building, where clovers and grasses were planted to fix nitrogen back into the soil for later crops.

It became clear that despite the challenges of organic farming, the passion of farmers and continuing innovation show that organic needs to be a major player in the future of our food network. As we passed through the seedling polytunnel, we made our way back to the coach for the journey home. It was such a treat to meet the people who put so much passion into making our food; and to see the good practices bakers, cheesemakers and farmers put into action. The connections between the soil and the fields, through to the product you pop in your basket, became much more tangible.  As consumers this is very empowering – to have the opportunity to see behind the scenes.

Being able to see, feel, and taste the origins of your food creates an open dialogue that is so important in discovering food you can trust, especially in a time when so many of us are feeling disconnected. Feeling inspired from the day, Soil Association’s quote really rang true – good things happen when you go organic. Watch this space; we look forward to going on our next trip with you.

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