This weekend, are you looking for a welcoming pub that’s got proper Cotswold’s’ creds? Then you need to head to The Pointer. Tom and I joined a whole host of other bloggers at their recent field to fork open day.
Amongst a bus load of city slicker bloggers, Tom and I rocked up to the early brunch in our practical country muddy walking boots. Feeling marginally trampy amongst the glamorous city types at the Howdens’ Farmhouse in Brill, Fi and David welcomed us with gallons of hot tea and plates of their home reared pork sausages and bacon. This pretty much set the tone for the day.
The Howdens have been based at their farm in Brill for over a decade and the family bought The Pointer, formerly known as the Red Lion in Brill, in 2012 and produce from the Farm has been used by the Pointer’s chef, Mini Patel, ever since.
In the beginning it was charcuterie that got David’s heart a flutter, who chummed up with the local butchers to sell their bespoke selection. Now the Farm’s pride and joy are the herd of long horn cattle lovingly tended to by by Farm Manager, Jamie. With nine months at Daylesford, Jamie’s got grand plans to expand the herd from 15 to 55. And their prize winning. Jamie spends much of his time helping these impressive beasts look their finest for country shows up and down the land.
Now I wish I could say that the Middle White Pigs were equally as beautiful. But they were the but-ugliest pigs, I’d ever seen. Like a grizzly looking Churchill. But I’m assured that they taste amazing – (and they did!) Reading this blog, I’m pretty sure you will have gleaned by now that I’m a keen local food champion and I was happy to ‘turn my nose up’ in support of buying British pork. Part of the #Farmsnotfactories campaign, to raise awareness about British pork which is often better treated than pork imported into the country. The Pointer staunchly believes in high welfare animals, lovingly looked after and practically organic (I think that means practicing organic but without the official certificate!)
Our trip was all about discovering the ‘field to fork’ journey and we were pleased that we’d donned our muddy boots as we took off towards the vegetable gardens. Ken, the head vegetable gardener’s job, is to keep head chef, Mini, with the freshest ingredients available and complex succession growing is key. Ken too, has the Cotswold’s pedigree, coming from Le Manoir and establishing the vegetable beds at Soho Farmhouse. The green house was a wonder to behold and the strawberries were the best I have ever eaten.
Tom would have loved to stay and chat with the gardening team the whole afternoon and his favourite part was definitely nosing about the extensive grounds, which included a natural swimming pool (which was to DIE FOR. I’d have gone for swim there and then) and wild meadows with a positively palatial tree house.
The team here at the Pointer are a close knit family. Fi and David are keen community champions and they’ve also bought the local butcher, selling meat from the Farm to Joe public. (We bought two steaks which just melted in the mouth.) Fi has also pioneered a new school lunch scheme, where the Farm provides ingredients for 165 school dinners everyday. A rota of parents, each give up one morning to prepare all the dinners in the village hall for two whole schools – no mean feat!
Blimey, I’m pretty far in to this blog post and I’ve not even got to the food yet! After our tractor ride round the Farm, we enjoyed a great Barbecue lunch of pulled pork and fresh salads. Followed by piles of rub red strawberries and vanilla cream – which would have done Wimbledon proud.
Thanks so much to Fi & David for our wonderful trip to the Pointer. I’ve got all my fingers, toes, hooves and trotters crossed for another bumper awards season at the country fairs!