Farm to Face
Farmers – they don’t have it easy. Not with Brexit finally swinging into effect, and the supermarkets ever more motivated by the bottom line. But there’s no reason why they can’t make the system work for them. Just look at Broughgammon Farm and Pheasant’s Hill Farm, who both dazzled at Birmingham’s final of the British Street Food Awards this year.
The city’s street food sorts like a bit of farmyard at the weekends. Farmer and chef Dan set up The Flying Cows as an outlet for his family’s grass-fed Dexter beef, and he’s now a regular at the Digbeth Dining Club. You don’t need us to tell you how important provenance is in street food – hell, any food – so Dan looks like he’s onto a good thing.
You can say the same of Slow Pig, whose menu honours the whole animal. Their lamb bacon with slow-roast tomatoes, garlic mayo and salsa verde is enough to get the juices flowing. Same with their Goan pork paratha with rhubarb ketchup and coconut chutney. Oh and need we mention they have a range of charcuterie, from their mangalitza pigs (the breed made famous by Pitt Cue)? ‘They make a mean nduja arancini,’ says Slow Pig. We’re not ones to argue.
Slow Pig and fruit growers Wild Fig are both stars in the British Street Food firmament, and competed in the Wales and the West heats in 2015. There’s a certain resourcefulness going on here; Wild Fig combine their strawberries, raspberries, figs, redcurrants and the like with their homemade ice cream – thanks to a bit of help from surrounding dairy farms. Having restored a 1970s Renault to take to market, it’s fair to say they look the part too.
Street food has the potential to be a massive forum for producers. As much as anything else, it means farmers can finally have their own say. Cutting out the middleman is something the rest of us would relish too – seeing local producers unite to create an incredible menu. We’ll certainly be up for seconds.