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Taste of the county for island life

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: May 07, 2013

Clifford Freeman

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MEAT from cows, sheep and pigs reared in Gloucestershire has helped a restaurant on the Isles of Scilly win a top sustainability rating.

Farmer Clifford Freeman from Redmarley D'Abitot stepped in to pull the Isles of Scilly's St Mary's Hall Hotel out of administration in 2009.

Since then, he and his staff have been working hard to make the hotel and its Spirit restaurant as sustainable as possible.

Now they are celebrating the news that Spirit has become the first eating place on the Isles of Scilly to be awarded three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Inspectors from the SRA commended Spirit's policy for sourcing seafood from the Cornish coast and eggs, fruit and vegetables from the island and Cornwall, together with UK craft-brewed beers, ales and ciders.

They liked the way that chef Phil Fallows and his team made their own preserves, chutneys and pickles at time when fruit and vegetables were plentiful.

And they were impressed by Spirit's use of meat from traditional slow-growing breeds of cows, pigs and sheep, most of which are kept free range on Clifford's Everes's Farm.

These include Ryeland sheep, Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs and Old Gloucester Cattle, a breed that Clifford's father Eric helped to save from extinction in the early 1970s.

Other areas in which Spirit scored especially highly were its healthy eating policies, along with its approach towards showing the provenance of ingredients on its menu and efforts to treat people fairly.

Spirit's environmentally friendly approach to recycling, cleaning products and energy consumption was also commended.

"It's clear from its sustainability rating that Spirit takes its environmental and social responsibility very seriously," said Mark Lineham, managing director of the SRA.

"Using exclusively free range meat, having a no air-freighted produce policy and running many sustainable projects that have helped the community such as providing recycling facilities, all demonstrate the restaurant's commitment to provide customers with well sourced, environmentally friendly food."

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