Davina Lovegreen Catering is based at Prospect Farm in Catterick, North Yorkshire, and is run by husband and wife, David and Davina. The farm has an integral role in the running of the catering business, so we thought it was important for you to know a bit about our farming story.
Davina went from being a farmer’s daughter, to a farmer’s wife, so it was very important for her to integrate part of this lifestyle into her business. David milked cows from the age of 14 to 34, up until the widespread disruption of foot and mouth disease in 2001, at which point he took the time to train as a chef at Darlington College. He then restocked the farm with Beef cattle, sheep and pigs, which he reared for specific use within the farm’s commercial kitchen.
Over the years people have become very interested in where their food comes from; we are no longer satisfied with merely buying our food and eating it. We want to know where it is from and who grew it. That’s why we are so proud to be using meat, fruit and vegetables from our very own farm. Here are a few details about the meats we produce and the veggies we grow…
The cows at Prospect Farm are grass fed in our open pastures and are naturally reared by their mothers from birth. We choose Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cows due to the natural marbling of the meat, which is known to guarantee delicious flavour. The grass-fed nature of the cows also ensures that the meat is rich in vitamins and healthy Omega fats, so our beef is not only delicious, but incredibly nutritious too! The cows are slaughtered between 16-24 months, and the quarters are then matured on our farm for at least another two weeks before being butchered by David.
The large white sows on our farm are free range, and are brought in to farrow on straw where the piglets are naturally reared by their mothers. At around 8 weeks the piglets are weaned and fattened in straw yards until they are slaughtered at 5 months. We then go on to butcher the pigs ourselves; most of the joints are kept for roasting, but the real effort goes into dry-curing our bacon, curing the hams and making our homemade sausages. The back and streaky bacon is dry-cured and dry-hung for at least 3 weeks, making for the crispiest rashers. For the sausages we use high quality pork (not the scraps that are left over!) which is then minced, seasoned and linked. We make ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Old English’ flavoured sausages in large and chipolata sized skins, both of which are available to purchase while stocks last.
The sheep on our farm are Texels and our lambs are born in the spring, around March time. They are naturally reared by their mothers in our grassy pastures until they are slaughtered in the late summer. They are butchered in our commercial kitchen and used throughout the year.
Although we have a small flock of free range hens producing fresh eggs on the farm, we do not rear or slaughter any poultry on the property. However, we purchase our game seasonally from our local supplier, Yorkshire Game- that’s if David hasn’t been out across the fields with his shotgun. But of course we use our freshly laid eggs in our cooking and in all of our baked goods.
At the back of the farm house we tend to a large orchard which grows an abundance of fruit throughout the year. We have approximately 20 different varieties of apples and plums, as well as blackcurrants, redcurrants and raspberries. Not forgetting the rhubarb stalks that have taken over Davina’s flowerbeds! We harvest and preserve the fruit in homemade jellies, jams and chutneys which we feature in our recipes. We also dry store the fruit so it can be used in desserts, meaning we can have Apple Crumble well into the New Year!
As well as fruit, we grow a number of vegetables on the farm for use in our commercial kitchen. We grow several potato varieties, including King Edwards and Arran Pilot, so that we can perfect the crispiest roast potatoes and make the smoothest mash. We also grow other vegetables like swede and beetroot. We like to be as self-sufficient as possible!