Monday, 25 May 2015

Olives and Blackacre

This is part 4 of our series, A Trip South West.

On our third morning of travelling, we raced (as fast as we could in the old camper van) to Olives et Al in Dorset for lunch in the sunshine at their little cafe on site. They were genuinely some of the best olives we’ve ever tasted.

Giles was a pretty inspirational guy to meet and it was a pleasure to listen to him tell the story of how Olives et Al came to be. Some 20 years ago, Giles and his wife to be gave up their former careers and set off on two old motorbikes looking for an adventure. The trip took them through North Europe, Syria, Jordan, across the Allenby Bridge into the West Bank and Israel, Cairo and Libya. Their adventure lasted about a year and the pictures that are peppered around the Olives et Al offices tell the tale.

Giles and Annie returned to Southampton and in the sway of post travel blues, set up camp in the garden. They went to the local shop and bought some olives recreate the life they had grown accustomed to that year. The olives were apparently disgusting, nothing that resembled the Olives they had enjoyed on their trip. It was at that moment that they decided they needed to bring olives into the country and that's how it all began.

Back on the road and after an hour lost in the Dorset countryside, we reach Blackacre Farm.

Blackacre is a small family farm run by Dan and Briony Wood. They weren't really expecting us - Giles had only suggested us to meet them a few hours previously - but nonethless kindly welcomed us in. Dan put us in his Land Rover and drove us up to see his hens. Blackacre is a much larger operation than the Dave and Wendy's, but still only sizely enough for them to ensure the well being of all the animals.

So we got to meet more happy chickens - the hens looked really healthy and had a huge amount of land to roam, dig and socialise in.

Blackacre is also home to many ducks and quails. The quails' eggs were delicious - did you know that each quail lays a uniquely patterned shell, so that the bird can pick them out? 

As the sun set we hit the road back to London, fresh faced, inspired, excited to get back to the kitchen - and, thanks to the openness and hospitality of all the folk we dropped in to see, with a real sense of the kind of the production we want to support, the kind of produce we want to work with every day. 

1 comment: