Ever wondered why our veg is so God darn tasty? It’s all thanks to an amazing community initiative called Eves Hill Veg Company, currently based in Reepham, Norfolk.
This not-for-profit community market garden supplies all our veg and injects a big boost of nutrient goodness into the meals served at Farmyard, The Dialhouse and our online delivery service – Farmyard Frozen.
We have been working with the team at Eves Hill for several years and wanted to share their story because there’s lots of ways you can support their work in the community.
Tell us a little about the ethos behind your business?
Our focus is on building individual’s skills and confidence through horticulture and to provide a space for people to enjoy working together in nature. We grow and sell ecologically grown produce in our local community plus we run volunteer and training courses that support people to learn to garden, develop their skills and meet others in a supportive environment.
We also run the only market garden apprenticeship in East Anglia and are training and supporting others to start market gardens in Norfolk too.
Where are you based and how long have you been operating?
We have been running for almost 7 years and are in the process of moving our site near Reepham to a 1-acre plot in Aylsham.
When did you start supplying Farmyard?
It’s a funny story. We read that we would be working with Farmyard in the local paper, the EDP. I went into see Patron Chef and owner Andrew and had words as he’d forgotten to ask us first. Luckily, he was super nice, we got on and he now calls me the veg-pusher! We’ve been supplying Farmyard since they opened in 2017 and work with Farmyard’s sister restaurant Dial House too.
What makes the partnership successful/meaningful?
We grow produce that works in our soil and the Norfolk environment. We choose foods that makes sense for us financially as a small project, for example cut and come again salads make more money than potatoes. Plus, we plant and that excite us too. We love the feedback we get from the Farmyard Chefs and over the years it has defined some of the crops we grow and continue to grow – for example Korean mint and Mexican Tarragon.
Because the menus at both Farmyard and The Dialhouse are so interesting, we get excited when the Chefs ask us “could you grow” or “have you tried.”
Why is buying local so important?
By eating our vegetables at Farmyard and The Dialhouse, you are supporting a local food and soil economy. Plus of course our local support network-economy of real people on real life changing journeys through gardening.
What is your favourite day out/place in Norfolk?
We are market gardeners, so are in the garden most days! A day off is staying home…and popping out to open up/water/close up/ water.
What is your favourite dish using your product?
Anything with red Florence onions – fresh onions are a flavour revelation. And our tomatoes or squash. You’ll never want to eat another tomato or squash again, promise. Our mixed leaf salad (farmyard please return it to your menu soon!) – is a piece of crafted beauty with so many different leaves, flavours, colours, textures.
Can you share a food/drink tip with our readers?
Find a local veg grower who is using ecological techniques and sign up for a weekly veg box. The flavours will change the way you cook, eat, and think about shopping. Supermarket veg will be relegated to tasteless very quickly!
If you’re local, then lucky you as Eves Hill Veg Company run a Veg Bag Scheme from July-December every year. Veg Bags are £6 (small) and £10 (large) and can be collected from pick up points in Booton, Cawston, Aylsham and Erpingham.
Plus, if you fancy getting green fingered, they run a regular volunteer day every Wednesday from 10.30am – 4pm where you can learn about veg growing in a community setting. Or pop along to one of their monthly Open Days on the last Saturday of the month from 10am – 2pm.
All details can be found at www.eveshillvegco.com