How have things been for you during this unprecedented time?
It's safe to say we have all faced our challenges when it comes to COVID-19. There's no doubt there have been ups and downs! We closed our doors for nearly four months, in what should have been our peak season. During this time, we supported some of our favourite local food businesses, whilst also taking the time to tick off a long list of odd-jobs we'd been meaning to do for months. Most importantly, we took the time to properly reflect and make plans for the future.
Have you made any new local food and drink discoveries during lockdown?
We are always on the hunt for new local producers! During lockdown, we discovered Nutfield Dairy (a stone's throw down the road from us in South Nutfield) and Brightleigh Farm, over in Outwood - who raise incredible Pasture For Life beef. We have really enjoyed visiting their pop-up shop on the weekends and having the opportunity to try a range of their products.
What changes are you having to put in place moving forward?
We are very lucky to have a business that is based around being in the great outdoors, therefore ensuring a safe and spacious environment is a little easier (weather permitting). Social distancing, enhanced hygiene measures, specific risk assessments and careful management of our team with enhanced hygiene training are just a few of the measures we are taking.
Tell us about any new events or initiatives you’re introducing…
Whilst we aren't able to bring people together around our shared dining tables in exactly the same capacity as what we used to, we have launched a range of Picnic Feasts and Woodland Dining experiences for the summer. Our guests will be able to enjoy our seasonally and locally inspired picnic beneath the trees or basking in the sunshine whilst taking in the views here on the beautiful Priory Farm Estate.
Depending on the event, guests can join us in small groups around our dining tables beneath the trees, or a beautiful picnic spot either lakeside, in the meadows or nestled in our woodland glen. Our Cookery School will re-open on September 1.
Why is it important that people ‘Stay Loyal to Local’?
Supporting local producers has been at the heart of what we do since Day One. It's been incredible to witness so many people moving towards a more locally sourced lifestyle over the past few months, really highlighting what is available on our doorstep. We really hope this is a movement that will continue to grow, even when life starts to return to some vague form of normality.
Lastly, what is your own favourite food and drink things about the local area?
We're fond lovers of Pilgrim Brewery's latest beer 'Somer' and continue to be keen fans of Etherley Farm's incredible duck.
Tags: cookery school
local food surrey