|Farm fresh veggies, deliciously prepared.|
As the title of this blog would suggest, I love the countryside. While London is currently my home, and I love being in the thick of things in the hustle and bustle of the city, a big part of my heart belongs to the countryside. I love the greenery, the space, the quiet, the people - it's always good for my soul to get out of the city and replenish myself with some country air and some good times.
So when an invitation to the blogger summer BBQ at The Pointer in Brill, Buckinghamshire, popped into my inbox I was very excited to say yes. The thought of green fields, farm animals and a little downtime in the country sounded like a perfect Saturday. I was also very keen to visit their pub & restaurant. I'd heard good things from friends who had visited the village before, as I used to live not a million miles from Brill, just over the county border in Northamptonshire. I'm very enthusiastic about good, honest farm to fork food where animals are treated with compassion, so this felt like a great fit for my interests and for the blog.
Here at home we've starting eating more and more vegetarian meals, and when we do eat meat we are trying to get it from farms that have good standards of welfare. It's better meat, on a selfish level; and it's much better for the animals, on the kinder one. Not only that, having grown up in farming country I like to ensure my money is going to support farmers and farms who are taking great care of their animals and crops, not big faceless factories with questionable welfare and awful conditions for animals and workers alike. Raising crops and animals well is a true skill, and if that skill means that I have to pay a premium, I'll do so whenever possible. We've actually found that by eating a couple more veggie meals a week we can afford to go for free range, well-sourced meats for when we do have animal products, and the budget has stayed about the same. I'll be featuring a few veggie recipes here in the next few months - I'm enjoying experimenting and improving my repertoire of vegetarian meals.
At The Pointer, they are also very passionate about animal welfare, great food, and a way of eating that's holistic and which is good for all. It's a definite little industry - there's a big farm, where veggies and fruits are grown and animals raised; a little butchers where the meat is processed; and a lovely little pub and restaurant where people can enjoy meals made with the produce and meat from the farm. I spoke to people at all three locations and their passion for The Pointer and what they do was tangible - it really felt like a big family, working together to produce food and meals they were truly proud of.
I took over 300 hundred pictures as we toured the farm and visited the pub...fear not, I've pared that number down a little to share here!
There were so many doggies out and about. I don't subscribe to the cat person/dog person divide at all, I love them both. For our current lifestyle and location, it had to be cats, but when we make our break for the countryside, there will be dogs too. I loved walking with Blue and Boo, the farm owner's dogs, although I got far too few good shots of them as I was having a jolly good play with them. I'm animal crackers.
As we arrived the tempting scent of freshly made bacon rolls wafted out from the kitchen. As I was veggie all last week I couldn't enjoy the treats but I did settle in for a cup of coffee and a chat instead!
As well as the farm dogs, sweet Darcey daschund (and owner, naturally) joined us for our tour - what a sweetie!
Once we were all in and full of coffee and/or bacon, Fiona and David laid out to plans for the day. We were split into two groups for the tour. Katy and I were in the group touring the gardens and fields first, then out to see the herds of cows and the piggies.
The house was beyond gorgeous. Poor Matthew has had me chattering on about it all week!
We set off across the fields to explore the gardens, where much of the produce grown is used in the kitchens at the pub & restaurant, or sold in the little village market.
We marvelled at the well kept gardens, while the dogs made friends and romped around.
As we walked past the trees I couldn't resist snapping a picture of the blossom. Love May for the pink and white confetti nature provides!
These two little calves were both orphan calves, so they were kept in a little paddock of their own. They were so sweet and really enjoyed a pat and a belly rub when we popped in to say hello. Don't they look content amongst their buttercups?
These freshly shorn sheep were very friendly and trotted straight up to the fence to say hello. The fellow above loved the camera and was giving us all so many angles for shots. Tyra Banks would have been proud!
We picked strawberries straight from the plants (with permission, of course) and snacked on them as we learned about all the fruits raised on the farm. So juicy and succulent - I was delighted to discover they were also for pudding later, served with a delicious dollop of vanilla-orange cream.
Next up were the horses, including this cheeky fellow above. I adored giving them all a fuss (as did Katy, as you can see below), I was just sorry I hadn't brought any Polos for them. Katy got some very soppy pictures of me greeting the horses; I really do love them.
There are all sorts of rare breeds and unusual animals on the farm. These pigs, which are usually native to New Zealand, were so cute, romping around their grassy little field.
Aren't their markings extraordinary?
Everywhere we walked there were plants and prettiness. Katy and I were often the stragglers of the group, we were so busy taking pictures!
After a quick photocall for the whole group, we headed out (via a trailer pulled by a tractor) to explore the cow fields. The herd greeted us with pleasant moos but kept a measured distance - I think they were trying to suss out what we were up to!
These cows were definitely giving us the once over!
We got to meet lots of little piglets - they were very cute and very noisy!
After that it was time to head back through the gardens to the house, to head over to the pub.
I think these ducks were waddling off to their ducky pub too!
The pub was delightful, full of cosy nooks and pretty tables. Had I not been there for an event I would have been curled up in front of that fire with a book and a glass of wine, for sure.
There's also a lovely garden - it was rather chilly on the day we visited, but it was lovely to see the outside area too - I imagine it's the perfect place to have a Pimm's on a summer's day.
Pretty plants abound in the garden, making it a lovely space in which to linger. We also spotted this local kitty exploring the rain shelter! Wherever I go, I will find a cat, it seems.
After all that wandering and exploring, we were ravenous, so we were delighted when we discovered it was time for lunch. As I wasn't eating meat for National Vegetarian Week I had the veggie option, but I was a little jealous of the lovely meat being enjoyed by the others, all from the farm.
I tucked in to this delicious courgette roulade and a huge plate of veggies, fresh from the gardens at the farm.
Katy had some beef and some pork, and enjoyed both. After that we just had time to pop into the butchers (I picked up some sausages for Matthew and I to enjoy this week - they were divine), hop onto the coach, and head back to town.
It really was a splendid day, and I headed back to town feeling happy, relaxed, and full. Many thanks to all at The Pointer for the gorgeous hospitality and for hosting us so beautifully. I'm definitely going to try to head back at some point, and I must bring Matthew too - he's dying to visit the pub!
Disclaimer: As mentioned in triplicate above, I was kindly invited to this event by the team at The Pointer. All opinions, anecdotes and animal picture overload entirely my own.