We caught up with Jimmy Doherty from Channel 4’s ‘Food Unwrapped’ and Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday night feast. We talk artisan food, farm to table philosophy and what gets him up in the mornings!
What gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you motivated?
My mobile phone and my wife, literally! But in all seriousness the farm, livestock, animals and running a business gets me up and gives me motivation every day, it’s 24/7 stuff. At the moment the cockerel at our home wakes us all up at 4am every day!
Consumers are taking far more notice about the food they eat and more importantly what goes into their food? Where do you think this awareness is being driven from?
Well originally it was TV chefs, using that huge audience to educate the public on food, cooking and good produce. They really put across everything from the best ingredients to how to eat well. Also shows like Channel 4’s ‘Food Unwrapped’ – literally following the journey of our food and what we’re eating. People really do care about where their food comes from now which is important. Now there’s a much bigger emphasis on public health awareness which is a great thing.
The Government has really helped, as have key MP’s who have made a huge difference. I really do believe this has now become a culture in the UK rather than a trend of ‘healthy living’. It’s something I feel very passionate about.
It’s crucial now to have transparency when it comes to good food, and its origins.
If you could give our readers 3 tips on how to check the quality and supply route of the food they buy what would they be?
- Always trust your senses – touch, feel,taste – using a basic common sense when knowing what to eat and when.
- Check the packaging. You can check provenance of a product – packaging is labelled with trading marks which you can actually use to trace back.
- Use your local butchery/ fish-monger. They could literally tell you everything you could want to know, from the farm or the boat the fish were caught on – I love that.
If you were appointed ‘Minister of Food’ for the government what would be the very first policy you’d bring into force?
Re-start farming in schools – putting in small farms on school land, arranging more trips, making it a KEY part of the curriculum. You can learn so much from farming – respecting animals, understanding food and the food chain, maths, biology, nature, chemistry. The benefits would be huge.
Why do you think that the ‘Farm to Table’ movement matters so much and what can everyone do to make a difference?
It matters a huge amount and I hope more and more people support their local producers too, alongside the larger producers. It’s crucial now to have transparency when it comes to good food, and its origins. It’s very important to support the smaller guys – to be eating food made or reared locally to you is a special thing and experience.
What’s also important is that the public are literally one click away from buying direct from the farm, like my own online farm-shop, it makes it so accessible.
What learning experiences and tours do you offer at Jimmy’s Farm?
A huge amount. We have a full education programme from primary school to University level. Everything from butchery courses, to touch and feel sessions with the animals, to fishing to bespoke learning experiences.
If you want to tickle a tapir, meet meerkats, or feed a pig we have it covered. Visiting our farm is a full educational experience for all ages. We have a big festival each year in July and we have fantastic cooking demonstrations / classes / tasting sessions too which is just fantastic.
Where do you see the Artisan Food Movement going in the future and what do you see being of upmost importance to consumers over the next 12 months?
I see the AFM becoming the‘norm’ – it shouldn’t be a trend and should be here to stay, as a culture of our country too. Food culture and history is a really special thing, think of the amazing farmhouse cheeses and preserves for example we can now all enjoy again.
For more information about Jimmy Doherty, Jimmy’s Farm and his online shop please see www.jimmysfarm.com