Neil Parish MP joined The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall as they visited River Cottage HQ in East Devon on Tuesday 15th July. The royal couple toured Park Farm – which is a working organic smallholding and also the base for all River Cottage courses and events – in the company of River Cottage founder, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. As well as observing, at close-hand, the workings of the operation, they chatted to staff and members of the River Cottage team.
The visit launched the second day of royal engagements in the South-west. Their Royal Highnesses have a long-standing interest in local, seasonal food and in supporting British producers. River Cottage is widely known for its ground-breaking work in these areas, blazing a trail for the use of seasonal, ethically-produced ingredients and championing the cause of sustainability in the food industry.
While touring HQ, The Prince and The Duchess heard about the recently established Chefs’ School, which is instilling River Cottage values in a new generation of young professionals, and met Sam Lomas, winner of the Rising Star young chef award in 2013, as well as runner-up Freyja Davis. They also chatted and joked with John Wright, River Cottage’s resident foraging expert and leader of the popular Seashore and Mushroom Foraging courses. Later in the day, the couple will visit the new business and residential development at the historic Royal William Yard, Plymouth. Their day will end on the seafront at the River Cottage Canteen, the 120-seat restaurant where the food philosophy of Hugh and his team is taken from farm to plate.
Neil Parish, who is a keen supporter of the River Cottage’s work and its apprenticeships programme, commented:
“I was delighted that Their Royal Highnesses took the time to visit our Constituency and see the great work being done at River Cottage to promote sustainable, locally sourced food production. Devon is rightly proud of the food it produces and is home to some of the UK’s finest restaurants, including three with Michelin Stars. River Cottage is training the next generation of West Country chefs to carry on our culinary tradition.”
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said:
“I have long admired, and been grateful for, The Prince’s tireless support for sustainable agriculture and artisan food producers, and it was an absolute honour to welcome Their Royal Highnesses to our busy HQ.
“I was very proud to be able to show off our amazing operation and our brilliantly talented team. River Cottage is unique – there’s nowhere else in the country offering such a range of teaching in the area of local, seasonal cookery and ethical food production – and it’s wonderful for that to be recognised.”
For more information on the work done by River Cottage please visit their website at www.rivercottage.net