Happerley is a farmer-founded organisation working across the food industry to validate food provenance and encourage consumers to engage with the journey of their food.
Along with being the first pub-restaurant to achieve Happerley provenance certification, the new landlady of the pub in Apperley, Gloucestershire – Vicky Martin – has written her own provenance charter, which includes pledges that all ingredients wherever possible are sourced from within 30 miles, from Happerley-certified producers, and that said producers and produce are celebrated and detailed alongside every menu choice.
This goes beyond general Happerley food certification, which states that a venue must have at least 80% of its ingredient supply chain audited and published as standard.
Martin also plans to stage regular events that bridge the gap between the Farmers Arms’ staff, customers, and said local suppliers.
She explained: “This project is going to be really challenging – but I love a challenge. For us, to simply sell the views of this beautiful farmland is not enough. We need to engage with it.
“This is not about convenience. It is about proper amazing local food at a reasonable price. Provenance can and should be as affordable as boil in the bag.
“We will even be hiring students to help us pickle, jam and freeze the bounty of our land to help us through the winter months. This is how it used to be done.
“This is all about sourcing the best ingredients, cooked simply but well and serving it an everyday price. An exquisite dining experience does not need to be expensive.”
Validating the truth gap
TV presenter Adam Henson, who is championing Happerley’s Feed Me Truth campaign to increase transparency over the providence of school meals, will be attending the venue’s launch on 24 May.
Henson, who has appeared on BBC’s Countryfile and is a farmer and director of Cotswold Farm Park said: “Happerley is all about validating the truth gap between ingredient and plate, and securing and expressing the journey of the ingredients.
“It does not stand for local or any creed, but where and when the term ‘local’ is being applied, Happerley can validate it.”
“I hope the Farmers Arms can inspire other pubs in celebrating local ingredients and produce, and fully engaging local producers in sharing with diners the story of the food on their plate.”
Happerley founder and director Matthew Rymer added: “Pub restaurants financially struggle and too often dumb down their offering using microwaves and wholesalers, paying only menu lip service to ‘farm, fresh and local’.
“Consumers can sometimes get the same – and often better and cheaper – from their local supermarket delivery.
“What visitors to the area don't have time for is to find the best local ingredients and to cook them fresh.
“This is not right for every business, but is a real opportunity for pubs blessed with rural hinterlands to embrace this opportunity and turn from being cold store depots to becoming communal farmhouse larders and kitchens.”