Farmdrop have had a busy week; from hosting supper clubs to fermentation and orecchiette making workshops, they’ve been hard at work fundraising for the homeless charity St Mungo’s. Their ‘food busking’, pay-as-you-feel events have been uniting the community, connecting people with some of their local food and sustainable farming businesses.
The newcomers in Bristol epitomise the ‘farm to table’ movement, linking local farmers to residents via their online delivery service. They appear to be superheroes, pioneering a system which enables a wide range of farmers to bypass supermarkets: reducing their food waste, maximising their profits and encouraging people to eat locally sourced ingredients.
Sipping on their pink beetroot shrub and rosemary flavoured gin cocktails, the guests sat around big shared tables decorated with colourful tulips and daffodils. Strings of soft fairy lights illuminated the cosy room. Crates of seasonal fruit and veg were on display, alongside a range of local products (an excellent marketing tactic).
First in the line up of big names in the Bristol food scene were chefs from Poco Tapas, one of my favourite places to eat in Bristol. They served three delicious mezze dips: beetroot leaf blended with yoghurt and walnut; carrot and fennel top pesto; and ‘skordalia’ – a creamy green potato, olive oil and garlic dip. We passed them around, scooping them up with crispy, salty potato skins and hunks of bread. I think it’s safe to say I won’t be throwing away root vegetable tops from my veg box ever again! Why spend a fortune on packs of herbs flown in from other continents, when you can make pesto from the leftover bits?
Next, ginormous fish heads swimming in a feisty curry sauce were presented by two grinning chefs from Nutmeg, Clifton. Last to receive the dish, I was saved the prospect of hacking bits off a gawping fish head, and instead gobbled up the leftover mysterious fleshy chunks appreciatively. The veggie ‘kitchen sink koftas’ were served in a coconutty sauce; equally delicious, but thankfully much less spicy. Although we were told that the koftas were comprised of leftover scraps, their content still remains slightly puzzling. Both dishes were served with beautifully cooked rice. Scintillating conversation sparked over the sharing of such inventive and unusual food.
As a post-dinner palate cleanser, Grow Bristol handed round samples of their piquant micro-greens: pea, sunflower, coriander and fennel shoots. Demonstrating their exceptional creativity they revamped the traditional goodie bag, giving everyone a grow-your-own kit in takeaway boxes. These contained a square of recycled carpet fibres, onto which we sprinkled seeds and sprayed with water: our very own mini hydroponic farms.
For dessert, was Elly Curshen’s (or Pear, as she is known in the food world) bread pudding with apple compote and cinnamon sugar from her most recent book Let’s Eat. I found the simplicity of this inspiring; the no-frills dessert certainly does use up food waste, and was very comforting to eat on such a cold, dreary day.
On the whole, the event was a smash success. In just one night they raised £1,000, with only about 40 covers. It really was heartwarming to see the local food businesses jumping in to raise money for two great causes: the worrying number of homeless people in Bristol, and the campaign to end food waste and eat sustainably.