Island Life Magazine Ltd February/March 2007 - Page 70

life - FOOD & DRINK From pasture to plate.. I met the editor of Island Life, Martin, in November last year. He came to my restaurant in St Helens to dine and interview me for the December/January issue. After service we sat for our planned fifteen-minute chat. Two hours later and a very in depth discussion about food we said our goodbyes with Martin’s parting words being, “With your background of farming, (I spent my childhood on Atherfield farm where my father worked for the late Albert Henton), catering and passion for Island produce, you should write a food column for Island Life. What I plan to do in this regular column is give you an idea of what is in season on the Island, where it can be sourced and a recipe idea for you to try using the featured product. My greatest hope however, is that in reading this I can encourage people to change their shopping habits. We are extremely privileged to have some dedicated producers of quality foods on the Island. Current concerns about the impact that our spending habits 70 have on the globe in terms of food miles should be reason enough for us to start putting our money where our mouths are. I feel there is no better time to start supporting our local food network. A network that already encompasses Farmers Markets, farm shops and in some cases, direct from the producers themselves. My time as a chef on the Island has spanned 16 years, during which time I have been fortunate to meet some fantastic people, who are passionate about what they do. Big business seems only to be interested in big profits, but the people you will meet through this column are not only passionate and like all of us striving to make a living, but are doing so without comprising animal welfare and minimising their impact on the environment. Literally food for thought isn’t it? The subject of this issue is Island lamb. There are a number of farmers producing great quality lamb on the Island, but due to a lack of an abattoir on the IOW all lamb is sent to the mainland to be slaughtered, the majority of which never make by Mark Young - St Helens Restaurant it back. Fortunately there are a few producers that do get over this hurdle, (no pun intended) and return their animals for us Islanders to enjoy. Amongst these are Chinashop Rare Breeds, Dunsbury Lamb, Godshill Park Farm Organics and Island Fresh Lamb. It is with Les and Carol Morris of Island Fresh Lamb that I spent an afternoon discovering what it takes to put that succulent leg of roasted lamb on your Sunday lunch table. Q. How long have you been farming? Since I was sixteen. My Father was a tenant farmer in Worcestershire and it was expected that I work on the farm when I left school. It was my first experience of sheep farming, although the farm was a mixture of animals and crops. I worked with him for twelve years before buying a dairy farm with my brother. Later I met Carol and we moved to the island in 1983, setting up at Sponsored by -