‘Local’ is a word that gets bandied around a lot in the food world these days – often with tenuous justification. But if there’s one company that truly embodies that term, and everything it stands for, then it’s Fin & Farm in Hove.
In short, they source the very best seasonal produce – ranging from fresh vegetables and artisan cheese through to free-range meats – from farms and producers across Sussex. This is then packed into boxes and delivered straight to pubs, restaurants and homes in the local area.
“We believe that keeping things local is the right thing to do,” says co-owner, Muir Jankowski, who runs the company with her business and life partner, Nick Sandford. “Not only does it mean that the food is fresher, but it also means a smaller carbon footprint.”
What is more, as a zero-food waste company, everything is bought to order, and delivered within 24 hours – and all the boxes are reused each time.
They also actively work with local farmers to help them reduce their plastic – for example by promoting the use of compostable packaging – and are careful to connect with other businesses that share the same ethos.
“We work with some wonderful local farmers,” says Muir. “For example, at Three Harbours Beef, they have a small herd of cows that roam freely on the salt marshes. What many people don’t realise is that cows are roaming animals, so these ones have a lovely life grazing freely on the grass and even wallowing in the water when the fancy takes them.
“Also, this, in turn, helps the local environment. For example, by grazing the grass part way down, as they do, this creates a perfect environment for bugs and insects, and their hooves also help to mulch the ground. As a result, the local nature reserves are teeming with animals and birds.
“Our small independent farms and producers are crucial to maintaining our local countryside and that is one of the many reasons that we want to support them.”
Celebrating their own 10th anniversary this year, Fin & Farm now work with around a hundred Sussex suppliers in all – including Laines Organic Farm in Cuckfield, Ringden’s Orchards and Juices on the Kent/Sussex border and Merryhill Mushrooms in Storrington, to name but a few – and there are some exciting plans in the pipeline for the year ahead.
“As well as a website revamp, which will make it easier for people to order their local produce, see the blogs and access our recipes, we are also going to be doing some special events,” says Muir. “For example, one of the things we are particularly excited about is doing some organised farm walks with the local chefs that we serve. This will be a chance for the chefs to have a wander around the farms, to see firsthand what goes on, and to meet the farmers themselves.”
In terms of an actual party for their anniversary, however, that’s not something on the cards for now.
“It’s a lovely idea, but the problem is, we’re always out in a field somewhere,” laughs Muir. “Maybe it can be a party with a picnic instead!”