With food provenance an increasingly hot topic in restaurants and at tables across the globe, Sam Harrington-Lowe pulled on her wellies and explored a farm estate that offers an exemplary illustration of field-to-table fare…
If one could be a cow, to graze on Goodwood’s garden with its prime grassland, or be fed on forage grown entirely on the 2,800 acre estate (a mix of clovers, oats, whole crop barley, whole crop silages and wheat, beans and vetches) would surely make for a perfect life.
Goodwood has been farmed organically for more than three centuries and although more recently the rest of the country seems to be catching up, the philosophy here has always been to treat livestock well, as this naturally leads to meat that is wholesome, nutritious and delicious.
The present Duchess of Richmond was one of the Soil Association’s earliest members, she ran her kitchen garden on organic principles and passed this passion on to her family. Home Farm was the first 100% organically fed dairy in the country and is the largest lowland organic farm in the UK.
Beef is a big deal here, not only providing inspiration for the menus at Goodwood’s many eating places, but also serving some local and regional businesses too. The cows born and raised here are the beautiful deep-red Sussex, a cattle local to the area that thrive on the chalky downland.
They are bred to maturity over 30 months to ensure that the fat reaches the inside and this exceptional marbling ensures a distinctive flavour.
I spoke to Tim Hassell the Home Farm General Manager who explained how crucial it is to treat the cows well. “We use a local abattoir which means the cows are very well looked after and do not have to travel far; this reduces any stress or excitement which can cause adrenaline which in turn spoils the meat.”
Once the meat returns to Home Farm it is hung for 28 days to mature which really enhances the flavour. Tim’s favourite cuts are Ribeye with its marbling fat giving an extra tasty flavour and Rump, which he believes is perfect for slow roasting. He says “a lot of people think it is very tough, however, if the rump is cut expertly by your butcher it completely changes the texture of the meat”.
Goodwood prides itself on using every part of the animal (from nose to tail) ensuring minimal waste. You can enjoy all sorts of mouth-watering dishes from a sirloin steak with wild mushroom pithivier and roast Jerusalem artichokes at The Kennels; to a Goodwood burger with Charlton and bacon rarebit homemade relish and fries at the Hotel Bar & Grill.
Nowadays words such as traceability and sustainability are thrown about with abandon but at Goodwood this is a reality. Guilt-free meat that tastes as good as the life it has lived? It doesn’t get much better.
Home Farm House