Last Saturday, on the way back from attending the Hampshire Potato Day at Whitchurch, we called in at Laverstoke Park Farm, to visit their farm shop.
Laverstoke Park Farm is owned by Jody Scheckter, a South African-born former Formula One racing driver. His farm is run on Biodynamic principles. If you don't know what those are, follow this link to find out! Biodynamics. The gist of it is this: Good Soil = Good Grass = Good Quality Animals =
Better Tasting Food = Happy People!
Anyway, we didn't go to contemplate Biodynamics, we went to buy food. We were also faintly hopeful that we might catch sight of some of the farm's 2000+ buffalo, although this didn't actually happen. The weather was atrocious - driving rain, snow lingering on the ground, temperature hovering around zero - so I expect the buffalo were indoors.
The shop sells fruit and veg grown on the farm, but the main attraction is meat and dairy products - especially those produced by/from the buffalo.
We were able to spend a couple of minutes talking with the staff about buffalo meat. Confirming our perceptions, they told us it is like a firmer and denser version of beef; quite strongly-flavoured. We decided to play safe and buy some buffalo mince and make it into a "Cottage Pie". If we like it, we may be more ambitious and go for buffalo steaks next time - or maybe even buffalo wings!! :) [P.S. You can read now about the "Buffalo Pie" that Jane made with this meat on her blog Onions and Paper.]
We also bought some sausages made from the farm's outdoor-reared pork. They were not cheap, but we are expecting them to be really good. Proper sausages made with real meat, as opposed to mechanically-recovered mush, can be a real treat.
We also bought some Slow Cured Back Bacon. I can't show it to you, because we ate it within an hour of getting home. I have to be honest and say were weren't particularly impressed with it. At £24.95 per kilo, you would expect something extra special, wouldn't you? It was OK, but not tasty enough to be worth the money. One of the disappointing things about it was its very grey colour when cooked - very unappetising. This is due to the omission of the nitrates which are normally included in bacon. Yes, I suppose the Laverstoke Park stuff is healthier, but since we are conditioned into expecting bacon to be pinkish even when cooked, I felt uneasy about it. Much the same as I would feel about eating pink-coloured mashed potato.
However, for me the most desirable product on sale was this Mozzarella cheese, especially after my recent ignominious failure to produce my own Mozzarella!
I think this cheese has a date with an avocado and a tomato... Oh, and it had better be GOOD!