Over the past two weeks, many farmers, producers, protestors, campaigners, and consumers have been coming together to champion the brilliance of British food standards. This includes the power of celebrity, as the likes of Jamie Oliver, Jimmy Doherty, and Joe Wicks have all been involved and are happy to have their say! As a nation, we should be extremely proud of the food that we produce as we have some of the highest food standards in the world.

Furthermore, this is particularly astounding in the organic agricultural sector; the Soil Association work unbelievably hard to ensure that all organic food produced in the UK has the highest levels of animal welfare and is beneficial to the environment and the wildlife around us. In Britain we are very lucky, as we have access to some of the best, and it is all produced right on our doorstep. You may have seen many news reports recently around the subject of British food standards, including a Channel 4 news report that featured Helen and many of our happy cows!

And it is not just about food standards, there are many more benefits to choosing British produce, and particularly choosing organic produce. By choosing to buy British, you are helping to support our rural economy and rewarding our farmers for all the hard work they put into producing our food and keeping the country going. As the daughter of a dairy farmer, I can assure you, they very rarely stop! It is also beneficial in terms of creating lots of jobs in many rural locations. For instance, here at Eastbrook Farm there are 12 members of staff employed, and that is just on the farm!

The ‘Save Our Standards’ Campaign 

The National Farmers Union have been working extremely hard over the last few months to challenge the Government and fight their decision regarding their proposed amendments to the agricultural bill via their ‘Save Our Standards’ campaign.  This is extremely important, as allowing lower quality food imports into a post-Brexit Britain will be highly detrimental to not only the country’s rural economy, but also the health and wellbeing of British citizens due to unclear labelling and ingredients. In the words of Jamie Oliver- “We must not lose control of what ends up on our children’s plates. If we get this wrong, the impact on their health will be profound”.

This is because allowing these lower quality food imports means allowing food to be sold that would be classed as illegal if it were produced in this country. This includes beef filled with artificial growth hormones that are currently illegal in the UK, crops sprayed with pesticides that are damaging to bees and wildlife, chicken that has been washed in chlorine, and meat from animals that have been confined in a tightly packed wagon for a large period of time. Are we really going to reduce our ethical standards by allowing this food into our country and onto our supermarket shelves when we would not dream of producing it ourselves in this way?

“We’ve had so much talk about chlorinated chicken. The thing is, if we don’t put a marker in the sand, if government doesn’t put a red line down in the agricultural bill, that allows secondary legislation on any day of the week effectively to change it. You have to put that marker down and say: ‘No, you know, we’re going to stick by our word today,’” states Minette Batters (president of the National Farmers Union), reporting in the Guardian.

The MP’s are due to cast their vote on Monday 12th October, so let’s hope they make the right decision!

For more information…

If you wish to find out more about UK food standards and the NFU Campaign, please take a look at the following web pages:

To sign the Save Our Standards petition, take a look here.

How you can help

If you wish to continue to support the British agricultural industry, make sure to look for the following organisations next time you shop!

  • The Soil Association certification logo is present on all Soil Association certified foods. This is a key indicator of extremely high British quality, from the highest levels of animal welfare to careful farming practices that are beneficial for British wildlife. One small swap can make one big difference. To find out more about the Soil Association, take a look here.
  • The British flag should be present on all British meat and dairy produce, make sure you choose wisely!
  • The red tractor assurance scheme is a not-for-profit company that strives for safe and traceable British farming standards. Wherever you see the red tractor logo, you know it is British quality produce that you can trust. For more information, please see here.

The best of British produce…

Why not taste some of Britain’s finest traditional food for yourself with some of our classic recipes? Corned beef has been a classic British favourite for years, and our corned beef comes from 100% organic, grass-fed and dairy-bred British beef. This means that it is extra special, and extra tasty. To find out more about our corned beef, please click here. It is perfect for making a Corned Beef Hash, as the corned beef crisps up brilliantly when fried; try our recipe below for a perfect winter warmer!

How about the humble sausage roll? They are perfect for a picnic! This recipe has been provided by our own chef Tom from the Royal Oak pub and they are delicious. They can be made using Helen’s British organic pork mince. To purchase our organic pork and to find out more, take a look here.

Helen’s Corned Beef Hash

Ingredients: 

  • 400g potatoes (chopped into cubes)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 150g Helen Browning’s organic corned beef 
  • 4 rashers of Helen Browning’s organic smoked streaky bacon (chopped into lardons) 
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Method: 

  1. Boil potatoes for 5-6 minutes until partly cooked, set aside.
  2. Fry the onions and bacon for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Shred the corned beef, add with the potatoes to the pan and mix.
  4. Leave to fry for 4-5 minutes and then gently turn the ingredients over, cooking until golden.
  5. Add Worcestershire sauce to taste, top with fried egg if desired.
organic cooking chorizo
organic cooking chorizo

A classic sausage roll from the Helen Browning’s Royal Oak

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of Helen Browning’s Organic pork mince
  • 2 tsp of minced garlic
  • 2 tsp of mixed dry herbs
  • 2 tsp of salt and pepper
  • 1 roll of puff pastry
  • 2 eggs
  • A splash of milk

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Mix the pork mince, minced garlic, mixed dry herbs, and salt and pepper to form the sausage meat. Tom recommends that you should always cook a little bit of your sausage meat and have a taste, just to check that you are happy with the flavours.
  3. Next, take your sheet of puff pastry and divide down the length into two.
  4. Create your egg wash by mixing the eggs and milk, and brush this over the entire sheet.
  5. Place the sausage meat down the middle of each strip, but make sure you still have enough pastry to roll around the whole of the sausage meat.
  6. Then, tuck the ends of the pastry in and make sure the seam is facing the bottom to avoid a sausage met explosion!
  7. Egg wash over the pastry once again and ensure that you place the sausage rolls on a greaseproof lined tray.
  8. Then cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Once cooked remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  9. Repeat the process until you have used up all the sausage meat mix!