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National Trust on local produce in Surrey

PUBLISHED: 16:20 24 November 2011 | UPDATED: 16:06 20 February 2013

National Trust chefs choose fresh local produce to make tasty home-cooked dishes

National Trust chefs choose fresh local produce to make tasty home-cooked dishes

This month, the National Trust's regional catering operations manager Sue Knevett explains why using local food is of vital importance

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2009

This month, the National Trust's regional catering operations manager Sue Knevett explains why using local food is of vital importance


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At the National Trust, our policy is to use local, seasonal produce throughout all our tea rooms and restaurants whenever possible. Not only does it benefit local farmers and food suppliers, but also the environment - our 'plot to plate' strategy means that our food travels as little distance as possible.

Just recently, the Trust announced that it was creating 1,000 'community growing spaces' across the country. This is all part of our commitment to encourage people to choose local food or even better grow their own. As spaces become available, they will appear on www.landshare.net


In the meantime, there is already a range of fantastic community growing schemes that the Trust is involved with in Surrey. In Outwood, for instance, the Dig for Victory project has taken the locals, young and old alike, by storm.

The local horticultural society and the National Trust have joined forces with support from other local groups and businesses to offer villagers the chance to grow their own vegetables by giving them seeds, seedlings, growing containers, manure and, of course, advice and tips along the way. At the annual village show, there will even be a special category for the novice gardeners who have taken part in this scheme. For more details, contact 01342 843225.

We have been busy promoting local food in other places, too, such as Limpsfield and Dorking, where National Trust wardens are working in primary schools to help them create their own vegetable gardens. The aim is to inform pupils about the importance of home-grown produce and about healthy eating, as well as to enable them to take real ownership of something that they can enjoy and benefit from.

Food glorious food
This half-term, there will be a national celebration of local and seasonal food taking place, Food Glorious Food, in the form of fun events designed to inform, involve and inspire people of all ages. To find out what's happening, see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events

In addition to all of that, not only is most of the food we serve in our tea rooms and restaurants local, we also have a brand-new farm shop at Polesden Lacey, near Dorking, offering a whole range of products from local suppliers.

Among the produce will be meat from Polesden's tenant farmer Steve Conisbee, whose family business is renowned in the area, and cakes from Crosbies, who not only make award-winning brownies, they also supply Tom Jones! Other offerings will include cheeses, fruits and vegetables, breads, wines and beers, and gift hampers.

We see food as very much part of our visitors' experience of our properties and also as a great way to engage with people. Through the food we serve, the events we organise and the work we do in the community, we hope to inspire people to choose local produce and perhaps even have a go at growing their own!


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