This week’s blog is by Sally Grimes, member of our green team, who runs ‘Green Roadshows’ across our restaurants and ensures we are up to date on all the latest environmental activities.

What Green means to me
Green is the color most commonly associated with nature and the environmental movement and for me also means “opportunity”. Here are some of the opportunities we’re working on at bartlett mitchell.

Joining the Sustainable Restaurant Association

Our major news recently has been that we are one of the first to sign up for the new package for contract caterers with SRA (sustainable restaurant association). Several of our sites over the last couple of years have forged relationships and individual memberships with SRA and we have worked with them and helped come up with a specific package for contract caterers. Our mantra has always been “good food and great service” and now through improving our understanding of sustainability and all that encompasses we now go forward secure in the knowledge that we are doing our bit!

What is Fairtrade?

Many of us think we know what fair trade means but do we really? I was one who assumed it meant a fair price was paid to the growers/producers and that was it but actually it means so much more! Fairtrade is an organised social movement and market-based approach aiming to help those in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. Recently we have been negotiating a move towards only buying certain products that are Fairtrade, and our current product is Bananas. Each month we buy over 1800kgs (about 6 bananas per kg, so that’s 10,800 bananas per month) and our aim is to only buy Fair trade bananas. We are working closely with our suppliers who also recognise the benefit of Fairtrade and are supporting us with the initiative!

Did you know banana peel skin side is great for polishing your shoes?

Poor harvest and the poor summer!

We have become more and more aware recently those British apple harvests have suffered this year due to the unusual weather over the last 6 months. When in season we typically support our British farmers but recent statistics shows that UK apple farmers harvests are down by up to 80%, Cox’s Pippins and Bramley are all in season currently and yet when you look in the supermarkets only 15% of the apples they sell are UK grown. Yes we have had a poor summer for the apple farmer so there’s no wonder in the last 30yrs in the UK we have gone from 55,000 acres of orchards down to 4800 acres. If you were to ask why this is to an apple farmer he would say it is due to market demand of the perfect apple and that the UK weather does not allow for the majority of it’s crop to be the perfect shape, size and blemish free that the customer/retailer demands! Actually, if you were to ask me what I prefer it would be a tasty apple rather than a perfect looking one and I would be happy in the knowledge that it was a UK grown one and grown in the right season.

Seasonal Food Items

October is a great month for using seasonal produce so fill up on artichoke, beetroot, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, celeriac, celery, chillies, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, garlic, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce & salad leaves, marrow, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes (maincrop), pumpkin, radishes, rocket, runner beans, shallots, swede, sweetcorn, tomatoes, truffles (black), truffles (white), turnips, watercress, wild mushrooms.

Our guys in the kitchens take full advantage of seasonal produce when designing their daily menus, why not make sure you do to! Leave any recipe ideas or comments in the box below or if you want to ask a question then please do!

Sally Grimes

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My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

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