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A country house hotel's kitchen garden at Fallowfields
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05.11.10

Fallowfields: a hotel restaurant for the "Fin Gourmet"

  
























I met Anthony Lloyd back in the summer when we went to an auction nearby. As we had chatted on twitter
I thought it would be the perfect place to have lunch - I knew Anthony was rather keen on local food and
his kitchen garden and I had seen from his website that he liked to share this with people by organising 
a  variety of events throughout the year.
 














Inevitably many are to do with food (and wine)! We had a fantastic meal with produce from his garden and
his own farm animals - we sat outside In the most gorgeous garden a hotel and restaurant could have.
Accompanied by the resident chicken!

I thought it would be great to share with you why Anthony has decided to go down the self sufficiency
route and how it is working out for him at his farm.
 
FM: When did you decide to start growing your own fruit and veg for the hotel? 
 
[Anthony Lloyd] Right back at the beginning, in September 1993 when we moved in to Fallowfields,
we had a small legacy walled kitchen garden. The taste and flavour of the produce in comparison to
the London supermarket veggies we were used to was so, so superior.Both my wife Peta and I became
instantly committed to the concept of home grown quality ingredients for the best taste and flavour.





















FM: Did you start off with any experience?

[Anthony Lloyd] Peta had no experience - she knew what a red rose looked like because she would
get them on her birthday! I had toyed with a vegetable garden and an allotment many years previously,
but the amount of effort expended for the return eventually put me off.

 

























FM: Do you have anyone to help you such as a gardener?
 
[Anthony Lloyd] The inimitable Mr Anthony Broad Esquire, has tilled the land here at FF for a mere
37 years. Tony looks after the vegetable garden full time and then we have a groundsman to do
the lawns etc. and a stockman to look after the animals. Very labour intensive!

FM: How big is the Potager?

[Anthony Lloyd] All in all about 2 acres, in the orchard part of this, our free range traditional breed
Sussex chickens peck happily.



























FM: is the food grown here enough to supply the kitchen?

[Anthony Lloyd] During the summer months we supply 80% of the food, during the winter much less.
But there is always something from the garden on our restaurant menu.
 
FM: What produce do you supply?

[Anthony Lloyd] Apricots, figs, apples, pears, medlar, crab apples, many varieties of pear, apple
and plum – with names like “Edwards plum” and “Lane’s Prince Albert” apple, we do not have a
variety [we have over 200 trees] that you would find on a supermarket shelf. Every tree has
been selected for it’s taste and flavour and not necessarily for the beauty and even size of its fruit.
 
FM: How many months of the year are you able to supply your kitchens?

[Anthony Lloyd] All 12 with at least something

FM: Do you find it cost effective?

[Anthony Lloyd] No! But who is to say how many extra bookings we get from our totally unique set up?
 
FM:Are you organic? Certified? If you use pesticides/herbicides – why do you use them?

[Anthony Lloyd] (because yield would be too low,  it is also easier for us with a busy hotel. We are not
organic because we currently could not support the cost. That is not to say that we could go that way
in the future. In the meantime we are “minimum intervention”. We do not spray by choice. If we get
a pest that wipes out a crop…we take more care next year.
 
FM: Do the clients appreciate it?

[Anthony Lloyd] They certainly do. These are some of the comments from them:

" The restaurant is set in a lovely natural environment with many of the items on the menu direct
from its own farm"

" We have stayed in this unique inn several times. About 12 miles from Oxford, it is always
a joy to return. The Lloyds run an extremely nice establishment in a wonderful old country home.
The rooms are comfortable and each is different. The beds are new and a good night's sleep is
guaranteed. The grounds include a working farm with large vegetable gardens, orchards,pigs,
chickens, ducks and cattle. When dining a the Fallowfields, the guest is the recipient of
the best the farm has to offer. My wife and I have noted several times how happy the staff
always seems to be at the Fallowfields. The service definitely reflects that. Without a doubt,
do not miss this place."





















FM: How do you get the word out that you are supplying your own kitchens with your own produce?

[Anthony Lloyd] We produce a "farm tour” leaflet which is available throughout the hotel. All our
menus carry a piece about the farm and the produce we are using from the farm that week. Our
website has a “farm page” too.
 
FM: Do you think it enhances your offering to potential clients of the hotel?

[Anthony Lloyd] For sure. Many guests take a stroll round the farm after lunch or dinner. Many
request a conducted tour with me.
 
FM: Do you think it’s all worth it?

[Anthony Lloyd] A very difficult question to quantify but subjectively very definitely.
 



























FM: Do you find any difference in flavour from the bought items and your own produce?

[Anthony Lloyd] This is the main reason for us starting out down this self sufficiency road.
The taste and flavour from freshly picked fruit and vegetables and the ability to chose our own
fruit trees with the help of the Brogdale National Fruit Collection has provide flavours long lost to
the consumer.
 
FM: Also do you freeze,dry, pickle, bottle etc any of the produce?

[Anthony Lloyd] We make chutneys, fruit compote, preserves, jams, our own fruit vodkas. The
only fruit we buy are Seville Oranges. About three years ago we started the farm having seen
Hugh Fearnley whittingstall’s “chicken out” programme. A few hens pretty quickly grew to several
hundred, with both ducks and quail, a herd of 50 rare breed pigs and a small herd of the fabulous Dexter.

FM: Thanks to Anthony Lloyd and his family for allowing me to interview them as I know they
are always so busy. Please do visit this wonderful place and find out what Anthony is organising
in the next few months at the country house hotel
HERE. All pictures courtesy of Fallowfields.
www.fallowfields.com

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
Fallowfields is a stunning country house hotel, wedding venue and restaurant in Oxfordshire
with over 300 years of history. Once the home of the Begum Aga Khan, we now offer beautiful
luxury accommodation where you will be looked after by our dedicated staff team.

Located in the Vale of White Horse, close to Oxford and the Cotswolds, at Fallowfields, you are
sure to experience the awesome beauty of the English countryside whatever the season.
Independently owned by the Lloyd family and set in twelve acres of mature trees, paddocks,
orchard and magnificent gardens, the hotel offers an exquisite, relaxing retreat.

Our modern British restaurant is open for guests and visitors alike, serving sumptuous dishes
which include produce from our pesticide free kitchen garden. We believe passionately in local
sourcing and have created what we think to be a world first: join us for the ‘Ten Food Mile Breakfast’.
 

 

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