Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 664

Weekend FREE Issue 664 | 14 September 2023 Celebrating the people who work so hard to put food on our table – the innovative ways they do it, delicious recipes using their produce and how the nation became fascinated by life on the farm. Plus: 12-page special on why animal welfare matters

2 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 News&Views 71% The area of land that is farmed in the UK 191,000 The number of holdings (June 2022) 220 The average acreage of a farm (June 2022) 60 Farming has an older age pro le than most industries according to the 2023 census. Two- fths of farmers are aged 60 or older. Fewer than 11% of farmers are under 30 54% The amount of food on plates produced in the UK, including the majority of grains, meat, dairy and eggs. Production of fruit and vegetables is less strong – around 50% for veg and 16% for fruit 471,000 The number of people working in agriculture (June 2022) 0.6% The GDP contribution from agriculture to the UK economy in 2022 (Gross Value Added at basic prices) totalling £13.9 billion UK agriculture at a glance Buffeted by forces beyond its control, British farming is facing unprecedented challenges, but this is also a time of huge opportunity, writes Anna-Marie Julyan FARMING The trendwe can all get behind Our rich and varied patchwork landscape of fields andmoorlandmay appear unchanged, but a quiet revolution is taking place. The UK is witnessing the greatest shake-up in the laws governing farming for 50 years as it leaves the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), presenting both challenges and new beginnings. By 2030, the government aims to halt biodiversity loss (England is one of themost nature-depleted countries in the world) and agriculture Jake Pickering. “And every year that passes customers aremore andmore interested in where their food comes fromand how it was produced – how the planet or the animals were looked after – and we’re really proud of that.” Last year, Waitrose received the Compassion inWorld Farming Best Retailer Award for farmanimal welfare for the fourth consecutive time and was named the Best Organic Supermarket at this year’s Soil Association BoomAwards. InMay, it launched @waitrosefarmers on Instagram, giving daily insights into farming life, from piglets out in the fields to collie dogs rounding up sheep. It’s all part of a wider focus on farming in themedia, online, on TV, and in plans for agriculture to achieve net zero by 2050, although the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is striving for amore ambitious date of 2040. At the same time, yesterday’s Back British Farming Day (13 September) seemedmore apt than ever because awareness of where our food comes fromand the importance of farming in harmony with nature has gained traction among the public. Spurred on by the pandemic, people have seen first-hand how important farmers are to our food systemand crave a greater connection with the natural environment, increasingly seeking to peer over the proverbial farmgate. “I’ve been working in this role or similar for more than a decade,” says Partner and senior manager for Cover: Illustration: Ella Ginn/Folioart

3 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 During British Science Week in March, a record number of 190,000 pupils from 3,434 primary schools took part in the Science Farm Live project. These virtual lessons brought British farmers into classrooms showing the interconnections between agriculture and key subjects. Agriculture has been one of the UK’s fastest growing subject areas in recent years. Aberystwyth University was ranked as the best place to study agriculture in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2023 and 59% of all undergraduates taking the subject are now women. In addition, the The future books and podcasts (see p44). On TikTok, the hashtag #FarmTok has more than 12.4 billion views, while Clarkson’s Farm – although at times controversial – brought the challenges of farming to a wider audience, breaking UK viewing records for streaming service Amazon Prime. “This is a turning point for farmers,” explains NFU vice president David Exwood. “Firstly because of uncertainty (created primarily by the Ukraine war), the rising cost of energy and volatility inmarkets.” In the past four years, animal feed has gone up 50%, nitrogen fertiliser 78% and agricultural diesel 47%. Loss of access to export markets, labour shortages and increased paperwork have added to farmers’ burden and the fragility of our food system. “We also have uncertainty through leaving the EU and the CAP as that support for British agriculture has gone,” adds David. The payments farmers received through the old EU systemwere largely based on howmuch land they farmed and are now being phased out. Meanwhile, the government is bringing in newEnvironmental Land Management schemes, where farmers are paid instead for the ‘public goods’ they provide, such as clean air and water. Some details are still being finalised, but the government hopes that by the time they are fully up and running (by ‘Customers are more andmore interested in where their food comes from and how it was produced – how the planet or the animals were looked after’ 2028) at least 70%of farmers will be enrolled in one of three schemes – the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Countryside Stewardship or Landscape Recovery. By 2050, the United Nations estimates that our global population will reach 9.8 billion, so growingmore food on home soil (currently 54%) in harmony with the natural world and changing weather patterns makes sense onmany levels. Climate change poses its own challenges – 10 of the hottest years on record have occurred since 2002, and theMet O ce projects that by 2070 there will be a greater risk of extreme weather events, while winters will be up to 30%wetter and summers up to 6°Cwarmer and 60%drier compared to 1990. Yet farming occupies a unique position where it can be part of the solution to climate change, being an emissions source and a sink. UK soils store about 10 billion tonnes of carbon, roughly equal to 80 years of annual UK greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Unfortunately, intensive agriculture has caused arable soils to lose 40-60%of their organic carbon and the need tomanage soils sustainably has risen up the agenda. “I see solutions everywhere,” says David. “We can provide more in terms of clean air, water, biodiversity and food at the same time. Technologies, for example using satellite data, drones or robotics, will make a dramatic di erence to the way we farmand are really exciting. Producing food in Britain is a good thing. We have the highest welfare standards in the world, we just need to communicate them. “But farmers also need to know that food production is valued – the government can help them to bemore productive,” he adds. A trend for regenerative farming – focusing on producing food while benefiting the environment – has gatheredmomentum, including at TheWaitrose Farm in Leckford, Hampshire. Waitrose and its farmers share the same ambitions, which include reaching a netzero target for GHG emissions by 2035. Farmer-led research is another area of development. For more than a decade, Innovative Farmers, a network supported by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund through sales of Waitrose Duchy Organic products, has trialled everything from livingmulches to reintroducing flax-growing for linen in the UK and new organic hop varieties for craft beer. Waitrose is taking part in a Defra-funded project to breed lowmethane sheep (more than half of agricultural GHG emissions aremethane), while its farmers regularlymeet to share best practice. It requires a long-termview, explains Jake, who says that some farmers have supplied Waitrose for more than 40 years. Times have been particularly tough for pig and egg farmers, but £4.9million of support on top of earlier investments meant the retailer maintained a fully British egg supply. All its freshmilk went free range last year, while chickens have 20%more space than the industry standard. What’s more, you’re buying the same qualitymeat on top of aWaitrose pizza as whole or cuts in the chiller, Jake explains. “With change comes opportunity – for new entrants and for farmers getting value for doing the right thing. We’ve been doing it for a long time and will continue to do so,” he adds. So how best can people support British farming? “Askmore questions,” says David. “Understandmore about the food you’re eating and where it comes from. It’s the best thing you can do.” NEED TO KNOW Jake Pickering (below) says people are more interested than ever in learning about food and the planet Royal Agricultural University’s new scholarship scheme attempts to address the lack of diversity in farming and encourage more students from ethnic minorities. Most recent gures for England show 99.8% of farmers selected white as their ethnic group. Access to land can be a barrier for young people who want to farm. It was a hot topic at the Groundswell regenerative farming festival, where Richard Perkins (who has 160,000 YouTube subscribers) spoke about creating small, scalable modular systems, such as pastured poultry, on small plots of owned or rented land. AT ONE WITH NATURE Crops on The Waitrose Farm at the Leckford Estate (main); chickens (bottom left); Tenderstem broccoli (below) OUTDOOR LIFE Piglets enjoy their free roaming New approaches to encourage the next generation Photograph: Jake Eastham

NEW LOWER PRICES ON HUNDREDS OF YOUR FAVOURITES 95p £1.10 £1.15 £1.30 65p 70p £5.75 £6.50 £1.20 £1.40 60p 70p 95p £1.25 £1.25 £1.40 £3.50 £3.80 £1.15 £1.25 £1 £1.15 £2.60 £2.75 £1.25 £1.40 £1.25 £1.35 £1.40 £1.70 £2.20 £2.50 £1.95 £2.15 80p 90p £1.20 £1.30 £1.15 £1.25 £1.20 £1.40 £1.25 £1.50 £2.50 £2.70 £1.30 £1.50 £1.65 £2.10 75p 95p £2.40 £2.60 £2.10 £2.50 £1.80 £2 85p 90p £2 £2.20 £1.70 £1.80 £1.75 £1.85 £1.50 £1.60 £4.50 £4.90 £1.70 £2 75p 90p £1.30 £1.50 £3 £3.50 75p 95p £3.90 £4.10 £1.90 £2.10 85p 95p £1.40 £1.50 Essential Home Ripening Plums 400g was £3.50/kg now £3/kg; Essential British Pork Shoulder Joint was £6.50/kg now £5.75/kg; Essential Honeydew Melon was £2.10/each now £1.90/each; Essential Meat & Fish Selection Cat Food 12x100g was £3.42/kg now £3.25/kg; Essential British Smoked Bacon Streaky Rashers 250g was £11/kg now £10.40/kg; Essential Red Kidney Beans in Water 400g was £2.92/kg now £2.50/kg; Cooks’ Ingredients Garlic 3s was 31.7p/each now 28.3p/each; Essential Spaghetti 500g was £1.90/kg now £1.50/kg; Essential Crumpets 8s was 8.8p/each now 8.1p/each; loose Essential Cauliflower was £1.10/each now 95p/each; Cooks’ Ingredients Corn Flour 250g was £5.60/kg now £5/kg; Essential Dijon Mustard 180g was 69.4p/100g now 63.9p/100g; Essential 30 Tie Handle Swing Bin Liners each was 11.7p/each now 10p/each; Waitrose Spreadable 500g was £5.20/kg now £4.80/kg; Essential Tartare Sauce 290g was 51.7p/100g now 44.8p/100g; Essential Seasonal Apple Selection 5s was 40p/each now 34p/each; Essential British Medium Whole Chicken 1.5kg was £3.27/kg now £3/kg; 12 frozen Waitrose Yorkshire Puddings 230g was £7.39/kg now £6.09/kg; Essential Cream of Tomato Soup 400g was 22.5p/100g now 18.75p/100g; Essential Red Leicester 350g was £10.86/kg now £10/kg; Waitrose Fairtrade Small Bananas 7s was 19.3p/each now 17.9p/each; Essential Kiwi Fruit 6s was 20.8p/each now 19.2p/each; Essential Grated Parmigiano Reggiano DOP 80g was £23.13/kg now £21.88/kg; Essential Sweet Yum Yums 4 pack was 40p/each now 37.5p/each; Essential Porridge Oats 1kg was 14p/100g now 12.5p/100g; Essential Conference Pears was £2.50/kg now £2.20/kg; Essential Custard 500g was 44p/100g now 40p/100g; Essential Tomatoes 2s was 90p/each now 85p/each; Essential Soft White Tissues 96s was 15.6p/10s now 14.6p/10s; Essential Semi Skimmed Long Life Milk 1L was £1.30/L now £1.20/L; Waitrose Quiche Lorraine 155g was £1.39/100g now £1.26/100g; Essential Condensed Milk 397g was 32.8p/100g now 29p/100g; Essential Pointed Spring Cabbage was 90p /ach now 80p/each; Essential Ginger Nuts 300g was 30p/100g now 28.3p/100g; 8 Essential British Pork Sausages 454g was £4.41/kg now £3.96/kg; loose Essential Broccoli was £2.50/kg now £2.10/kg; Essential Soured Cream 300ml was 46.7p/100ml now 40p/100ml; Essential Penne 500g was £1.90/kg now £1.50/kg; Essential Mashed Potato 400g was £3.13/kg now £2.38/kg; Waitrose Rough Oatcakes 250g was 46p/100g now 40p/100g; Essential Sweet Piccalilli 275g was 54.6p/100g now 45.6p/100g; Waitrose Somerset Brie 230g was £11.74/kg now £10.87/kg; Waitrose Low Alcohol Cider 1% 500ml was £3/L now £2.60/L; Waitrose Maris Piper Potatoes 2kg was £1.05/kg now 82.5p/kg. Selected Stores. Subject to availability. Minimum online spend and delivery charges apply. Prices may vary in Channel Islands, Little Waitrose & Partners & concessions. Serving Suggestion.

5 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 News&Views Your cheat sheet to some of the hottest topics in today’s agricultural landscape that support the environment and ensure better quality produce THE BUZZWORDS AND WHAT THEY MEAN AGROECOLOGY Ecology is the study of relationships between plants, animals, people and the environment. Agroecology applies ecological concepts to farming, an increasingly important area, whether that’s mitigating climate change by reducing emissions or working with wildlife. AGROFORESTRY A practice combining trees and farming – with grazing livestock (silvopastoral) or crops (silvoarable). Benefits include protection from the elements, increased soil carbon levels and greater biodiversity. BIODIVERSITY Di erent kinds of life found in one place – animals, plants, fungi and those not visible to the naked eye, such as microorganisms. They work together in ecosystems, providing clean air and water, food, shelter andmedicines. CARBON CAPTURE This is high on the agenda, as adopting practices such as planting cover crops, minimum tillage or agroforestrymeans soils can absorb greenhouse gases rather than emit them. Soil holds three times as much carbon as the atmosphere. COVER CROPS Non-cash crops, sometimes grazed by livestock, such as mustards, clovers or oats, grown to protect otherwise bare soil from erosion and add organic matter in between regular crop production. CROP ROTATIONS Planting di erent crops sequentially on the same plot over a number of years, hen repeating to improve soil health and interrupt pests and diseases. Inmixed rotations livestock graze, enriching soil with their manure, as at TheWaitrose Farm on the Leckford Estate inHampshire, which follows a 12-year rotation. FERTILISER Conventional farmers rely on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser to grow crops and grass, but it’s made using fossil fuel, and prices rose 78%betweenMarch 2019-23. Natural sources include legumes and farmyard manure, which replenishes soils with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. HERBAL LEYS Temporary grasslands of legumes, herbs and grasses, farmed as part of amixed or arable rotation. They improve soil structure, build organic matter and have a wider variety of species, providing food for pollinators. INTERCROPPING Growing di erent crops in close proximity – such as wheat with beans or linseed with oats – for beneficial interactions. This can increase yields by reducing weeds, and plants complement each other because they use available nutrients at di erent times. LIVING MULCHES Low-lying plants such as clover grow in a cash crop as a ‘livingmulch’, remaining after harvest. They fix nitrogen, build soil fertility and allow livestock to graze straightaway. MINIMUM OR NO-TILLAGE This means cultivating soil no deeper than 15cmand not ploughing. It has gained popularity in recent years to improve soil health, although it canmean increased reliance on herbicides to control weeds. MOB GRAZING A growing trend, this is short duration, high density grazing with a longer-than-usual grass recovery period. Farmers might move livestock onto fresh pasture once a day and leave the grass to recover for 40 to 100 days, improving soil structure. NATIVE BREEDS Livestock from specific geographical areas, best equipped to deal with its climate and grass. For example, Red Rubies born on Exmoor in Devon can digest the rough moorland grass, while Highland cattle are suited to Scottish winters. Waitrose is the first supermarket to sell beef fromup to 20 native cattle breeds, creating better qualitymeat in support of the environment. REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE This growing trend is about producing food while improving the environment. Practices includeminimum disturbance of soil and incorporating diversity, whether that’s through rotations, livestock or intercropping. SOIL MICROBIOLOGY A quarter of all species on Earth live in soils and its increasingly recognised life below ground requires the same level of attention as biodiversity above it. Regenerative, organic and agroecological farmingmethods all focus on soil microbiology and health. Anna-Marie Julyan LEARNING CURVES Examples of some of the farming methods being used – cover crops (main); regenerative agriculture (inset); agroforestry (bottom left); mob grazing (bottom right) Photographs: Getty images, Innovative Farmers

6 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 News&Views Agriculture is a varied and aspirational career choice, as three farmers have proven. They tell Silvana Franco about their career paths in an evolving industry and how they’ve diversified to create unique businesses “I trained in engineering and during the holidays worked on a local dairy farmwhich also produced ice cream. My first role was scooping ice creamout of the cabinet but after finishing my studies, I came back home and eventually became the company’s commercial director. “Around that time I was approached by Tony Fraser, the original founder of Cornish Sea Salt. He had this idea for harvesting salt which hadn’t been done in Cornwall for several hundred years. “As we don’t have the right climate to produce salt naturally, we needed to come up with a process to evaporate the sea water to harvest the salt. We knewwe needed to futureproof and establish a low energy, sustainable production process using innovative technology. “We’re lucky to be located beside a dramatic coastline, with dolphins, seals and whales and everyday it changes – stormy days are just as exciting as beautiful sunny ones. The unique geology gives the waters slightly elevated levels of magnesium and calcium. There’s a real art to the formation of the crystals, whichmeans the taste of our salt really is the taste of the sea – it evokes memories of splashing through waves and that sweet, salty flavour on your lip. “Good salt is an amplifier for taste, it creates connections between food and the taste buds. For us it’s about developing products that people can pick up and use simply. When you add flavourings such as roasted garlic to salt, it really turns up “I’ve always loved working with food. I hadmy own business representing small producers in Orkney, selling smokedmackerel and honey in London’s BoroughMarket. It was while working alongside the fantastic cheesemongers there that I started learning about cheesemaking. “Our family farmwas bought bymy great grandfather and inherited bymymother and aunt. There was a lot of discussion about diversification and when I moved to the farm in 2010, ROSE GRIMOND The founder of award-winning Nettlebed Creamery in Oxfordshire, Rose produces artisan cheeses using organic milk from her family farm I suggested that we look into making cheese. We’re now making artisanal cheese on a good scale and our latest, Leckford, is made exclusively forWaitrose using their sparkling Leckford Estate Brut. “We take our milk and apply hard work and skill to create unique cheese. It’s a very simple process, but the application itself is terrifyingly di cult. There’s a lot of gratification knowing the work you’re doing is going to be enjoyed. “I hugely enjoy working in the countryside. It’s very nice looking out of the window and seeing green fields. We’ve a lot of talented people in our team who have hadmore conventional careers in an o ce and nowwant to do somethingmoremobile and less bureaucratic. “Before I went into the food business, I was working with London prisons trying to persuade employers to take on ex-o enders. At Nettlebed, we now have a partnership with our local prison. When candidates qualify for release on temporary licence, they can work with us for sixmonths to a year before finishing their sentence. We’ve had wonderful candidates, and it’s brought us all sorts of skills and benefits.” Farm to table: Try creamy Waitrose No.1 Leckford (£6.50/150g), a semi-soft cheese rind-washed in Leckford Estate Brut, made using grapes fromThe Waitrose Farm inHampshire. Rose says: “The wine brings new complexities and wonderful notes. You can cook with this cheese, but it’s unbeatable after a meal, with a nice glass of wine.” Cornish Sea Salt is sourced directly from the open waters of the Lizard Peninsula before being harvested by hand in the company’s ecofriendly salt house. Philip is the director and founder PHILIP TANSWELL BORN TO In focus FARM ‘There’s a lot of gratification knowing your work is going to be enjoyed’

7 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 Timings are everything inmy working world. Radio doesn’t operate on the ‘I might be a couple of minutes late’ principle. If you don’t get to the news at the top of the hour you’ve failed the listener. If you don’t start your show at the right time you’ve failed yourself. So the clock change – looming biannually as it does – is a constant source of worry. I’mnot kidding. Ask any radio presenter what their anxiety dream is and I guarantee you there’s a clock in it. I’malways in the wrong studio at the right time or the right studio at the wrong time and with this nightly panic, who needs the actual time to actually change twice a year? Despite the fact that our real time changes twice a year, I still findmyself working aroundmantras such as ‘spring forward, fall back’ to get it right. I always thought that I was tapping into an ancient agricultural vein inmaking the change, and any irritability in losing an hour’s sleep or rueing fading daylight is not much to put up with when it allows the tough working days of people farming the land in a world where they can actually see. Somuch of our focus is drawn to the urban world, it’s good to remind us that not everything should favour the relentless artificial light of 24/7 living. Imaginemy shock, then, to discover that British Summer Time Daylight Saving Time clock changes do not originate from the farming world, but the building trade. And the urban building trade at that. We owe it to aman called WilliamWillett. In 1905, he was riding his horse through the London suburbs early onemorning and noted that every house had closed blinds. It dawned on him (yes, I really have written that) that the day’s early sunlight was going to waste, so in 1907 he published a pamphlet, TheWaste of Daylight. It caught the attention of Parliament, which agreed that our dark NorthernHemisphere winters were contributing to a lack of productivity, so the government popped the bi-annual time change into law. It says something about the complex nature of modern politics that there are numerous campaigns to get rid of DST now – in a world of street lighting and 24-hour productivity – which have amounted to nothing. The story of Bill and his pamphlet is fun to know. But I’m going to carry on thinking about the land when I’mwrestling withmy clock change this year and every year. It’s enough of a struggle to get all the clocks in the house set to the right time. There is only somuch change this woman can take. Fi Glover and Jane Garvey’s show runs on Times Radio from 3-5pm, Monday to Thursday. @fifiglover ‘Somuch focus is on the urban world, it’s good that not everything should favour the relentless artificial light of 24/7 living’ FI GLOVER The journalist and broadcaster has her say Inmy opinion “I’ma fourth-generation farmer and though I’d always had an interest in the family business, I had a job in PR I really enjoyed. I joined the farmby necessity whenmy brother sadly died in a car accident. My dad was about 70 and I was 28 and newly married. Two or three years later, whenmy dad died, I found myself running the business. “The farmgrows many crops, but blackcurrants were always key and a contract was struck with Ribena in the 50s. Later, I expanded the blackcurrant supplies and we became one of their 35 preferred growers. “Peoplemight come to farming with a romantic illusion, but it’s hard work and involves a lot of expertise. I’ve always had really good people working alongsideme as I realised at the beginning that I didn’t have all Blackcurrants have been a staple crop on Jo’s Herefordshire family farm for decades. Today, they’re used to create her awardwinning, naturally fermented White Heron British Cassis JO HILDITCH the necessary knowledge and needed a sound infrastructure. “When I got involved, under 10%of farming was female [recent figures showwomen form55%of the farmworkforce in England andWales including unpaid and family labour. Only 16% are ‘farmholders’]. I went to somanymeetings where people would say: ‘Where’s your husband?’ Women in farming are still aminority inmy position, theMD of a business, althoughmany have come into farming inmany di erent roles. “I enjoy being out there when the blackcurrant harvest comes in, although this year has been disappointing and that’s down to climate change. The year I beganmaking cassis we had a surplus of berries and I thought: ‘What shall I make with them all? I’ve been to France and love Kir Royale and nobodymakes cassis on any large scale in the UK, so I thought I’d try. “We ferment our blackcurrants first, adding a little sugar and vodka at the end. The results are nowhere near as sweet and the fruit flavour is incredible.” Farm to table: TryWhite Heron British Cassis Blackcurrant Liqueur (£21/500ml, selected stores). It’s full-bodied, rich, and ideal for serving over ice or adding to Champagne for Jo’s favourite, a Kir Royale. the volume on the flavour. I was onlymeant to be here for six months to help with a few ideas to get the company started. I’m still here 16 years later, with more ideas every day.” Farm to table: Try Cornish Sea Salt Co Really Garlicky Roasted Garlic & Sea Salt (£2.10/55g) made from sea salt and roasted garlic with nothing else added. Sprinkle over roasting potatoes, add to salad dressing or smash into your avocado on toast. ‘We’re lucky to be located beside a dramatic coastline – stormy days are just as exciting as sunny ones’ ‘Peoplemight come to farming with a romantic illusion, but it’s hard work’ Photograph: Photopia Photographs: Photopia

9 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 News&Views ROBOT FARMERS The big picture Manned by three vast metal-bellied robots – named Predator, Rambo and Alien, each weighing in at 4.5 tonnes – themeat maturing roomat Dovecote Park in Yorkshire is an example of farming at its most modern. As brainy as they are brawny, the bots detect beef upon delivery and automatically shelve it on a circular racking system, where it remains, su used with softly flowing air, for an average of 30 days, to produce delicious dry-aged beef. “During that time, natural enzyme action tenderises themeat to really bring out that deep, rich flavour,” explains Peter Boyes (above) of Dovecote, a dedicatedWaitrose supplier of British beef. “It really is the best beef I’ve ever tasted.”

10 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 OUTSIDE INFLUENCER Julius Roberts is the young farmer and chef helping to reinvent the industry for the Instagram generation. “It’s hardwork, but nature’s so rewarding,” he tells Paul Kirkley News&Views

11 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 Julius Roberts was up early for themost adorable reason this morning. “I had to get up to bottlefeedmy baby goat,” says the 30-year-old firstgeneration farmer and chef, whose Instagram adventures on his Dorset smallholding have placed him in the vanguard of a new generation of millennial ‘farmfluencers’. “We had a kid this year whosemumdidn’t have enoughmilk, so I’m rearing that onemyself,” he explains. Not that he’s the sort to be lying around in bed of a morning anyway. “You want to be out there, don’t you?” he beams. “Enjoying the lovely weather.” Seven years ago, getting out and enjoying any sort of weather felt like a distant pipe dream for Julius. Having spent three years studying sculpture in Brighton, the Londoner was back home and working as a chef in the basement kitchen of fashionable Soho restaurant Noble Rot. “I just remember sweating away in our kitchen dungeon, forever under pressure and chasingmy tail,” he recalls. “I was this pallid, grey figure who was staying up too late and drinking toomuch – it’s a very intense, hedonistic lifestyle, the world of che ng. And in themorning, we’d have all these bright-eyed, brown-skinned producers turn up, telling us these incredible stories of rearingWelshmountain lamb, or growing these stunning tomatoes. “I found their passion and their drive for better produce and better farming really inspiring,” he says. “But they also just seemed healthier and happier, out there living with nature. And I thought: ‘Do you knowwhat? It’s quite rare that I see the sun sometimes – I’d quite like to be one of them.’” Suitably galvanised, the then-23-year-old quit the city and, with his faithful lurcher Loki in tow, headed for his parents’ cottage in Su olk, with plans of turning it into a smallholding. Although with hindsight, he admits, if you’re going o in search of a rural idyll, it’s probably best not to do it in the depths of January. “I turned up to this little cottage, and everything was frozen solid. The ground was too hard even to dig, let alone grow anything.” Thankfully, salvation came in the formof four piglets called Snap, Crackle, Pop and Alby. “Pigs felt like a proper step – a real commitment,” says Julius, who was instantly smitten, spending hours in the pigpen, consumed by an ‘overwhelming love’ for his new charges. “Pigs are such fascinating, sensitive, characterful animals,” he enthuses. “They hammered home tome the intelligence, and the individuality, of farmanimals. “That’s what inspiredme to get out my phone and start documenting them,” he adds. “Hoping that, by showing the relationship betweenme andmy animals, it would inspire people to thinkmore about where their food comes from.” Julius gives short shrift to the idea that farmers shouldn’t Photographs: Elena Heatherwick

12 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 News&Views get attached to their animals, or give themnames – even if, as was the case with Snap, Crackle, Pop and Alby, they’re ultimately destined to end up on your plate. “If you are going to take an animal to the abattoir, the life that comes before that is of utmost importance,” he says. “You have to do your best by them.” Even now, Julius still finds those visits to the abattoir – or ‘betrayal days’, as he calls them– di cult. “Oh, it’s brutal,” he says. “Every single time I go, it makes me question everything I do. And I love that. I don’t want to get used to it. It shouldn’t be easy.” Those first years in Su olk were a period of trial and error, in which Julius often fell foul of his own ignorance. “With animals, you’re constantly getting hit with some pretty hard knocks,” he says. “If you live outside, nature is a tough host. There were a few instances where illness was just ripping throughmy flock and I had no idea what to do. You feel like you’re constantly fighting fires.” Memorable early challenges included nursing his first goats through labour in themidst of 2018’s legendary Beast from the East cold snap. “I think we wereminus 15 with the wind chill. The goats’ water troughs were solid with ice, and I was going out every day with kettles and pickaxes, just to give them some water,” he recalls. “Then they suddenly started giving birth!” After three years, Julius and his expanding flock had begun to outgrow the small Su olk plot, so it was decided that he and his entire family –Mum, Dad and younger brothers Lucian and Jocelyn – would strike out for a new life on a hill farm in the wilds of Dorset. Again, though, his timing wasn’t great. By the time the big day arrived in 2020, Britain was in the grip of lockdown, whichmeant Julius had to move all his animals – 30 sheep, 20 goats, 12 chickens and three beehives – across the country himself, in a ramshackle caravan of cars, tractor and trailers. But it was worth it. Watching his flock running wild in themeadows of their new home, the air filled with birdsong and the scent of elderflower, he knew he’d found ‘paradise’. Thanks to its forward-thinking previous owner, who’d enlisted the farmunder a biodiversity stewardship scheme, the 50-acre plot is home tomore than 160 species of wildlife, while the 2,000 trees she planted havematured into broadleaf woodland. “It’s a bit of a nature haven,” says Julius. “To have inherited that legacy is a very special thing to build on. We’re really trying to farm in harmony with nature. You don’t just want to be feeding one animal – you want to be feeding the birds and the insects and the bugs as well.” As a chef, Julius is equally passionate about feeding himself, his family and friends, serving up an extensive repertoire of farm-to-table recipes and sharing the results via Instagram, his Channel 5 TV series A Taste of the Country, and now his first cookbook, The FarmTable. “My basic food philosophy is ‘keep it simple’,” he explains. “You do not need to overcomplicate food if your ingredients are good – just a few things on your plate will taste and look fantastic. Theminute you’re using 20 di erent things, you’re getting further and further away fromwhat food is – which is simple, quick, lovely nourishment. Andmy other big thing is seasoning. That was the best thing I learned in the restaurant. It’s about tasting, tasting, tasting, andmaking micro-adjustments until you have it perfect.” As youmight expect froma chef-farmer, the book’s 100-plus recipes are organised along seasonal lines, from warming winter dishes such as hearty sausage stew and pumpkin, spinach andmozzarella lasagne to summer classics including pan con tomate with grilled sardines and salsa verde, followed by sour cherryMadeira ice cream. “If you’re staying within the seasons, you’re eating food that’s growing in the conditions it’s naturally supposed to,” says Julius. “That means you’re getting the best quality, most local produce, with the best nutrients, at the best price. And there’s a joy in waiting, as well. I love anticipating the return of asparagus, or eatingmy first courgette of the season. It makes it taste better, and there’s a joy in that.” In a country where the average farmer is pushing 60, is Julius conscious of being unusually young? “That’s a really interesting stat, I didn’t know that,” he says. “My neighbours are the sort of old boys whose fathers and grandfathers did it... And they work themselves to the bone. I think you do have to prove yourself to get accepted in the farming world. I hope I’mgetting there. I respect farmers. There’s no tougher industry, because you’re forever on the line. “Sometimes I struggle to call myself a farmer,” he admits. “Because I see how hard those guys work. But I also follow a lot of young voices in farming, and there’s some really ‘I respect farmers. They work themselves to the bone. There’s no tougher industry, you’re forever on the line’ Photographs: Elena Heatherwick

13 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 with Anaïs Gallagher (daughter of Noel Gallagher andMeg Mathews), who happily swapped life with the Primrose Hill set to spend lockdownmucking in on the farm. He now has a new girlfriend, but admits it can be challenging. “I’ve definitely hadmoments of the single life, because you are quite isolated,” he says. “And even when I’mdating, I’mquite tied to the farm– there’s the goats to feed in themorning, the chickens to be let out and put to bed… It’s a lifestyle that requires a lot of sacrifice. But, um, I do OK,” he laughs. Last year, Julius made the leap to television, when Channel 5’s cameras came to capture him in action on the farmand in the kitchen. Is he comfortable in the spotlight? “I’malways here, working, so I’mnot really that exposed to all that,” he says. “My shops in the local farm shop can take a bit longer, ‘cos everyone’s up for a chat. But other than that…Also, I live withmy family, so I’ve got my head screwed on pretty tight. If I was getting too big for my boots, they’d let me know. Living with your mumand dad is quite humbling, in that sense.” Although he didn’t know it at the time, Julius’ epiphany about getting out of London and reconnecting with nature would prove life-changing for the entire Roberts clan. “It’s a very family-oriented farm, they’re all super-involved, and they all love it,” he says. “I’ve woken up before now to see Dad running through the fields in his dressing gown, chasing after a billy goat with amop to try to get himback into his field.” His brother Joss, meanwhile, is employed as his right-hand man. “He’s a good lad, I’m lucky to have him,” he says. “It’s probably quite hard, working for a brother – it’s a tricky relationship to get right. Family comes first, and you don’t want tomess that up. But he’s a hard worker, and an incredible grower, and he loves being outside.” It must run in the family. Which is why, for all the hardships, challenges and setbacks along the way, Julius has never once regretted that momentous decision seven years ago. “Nothing could pull me away from this now,” he says. “I’m committed to this for life. It’s hard work, but the lessons are so big, and so poignant, and being with nature is so rewarding… “We’re all so trained to just keep gunning it towards our next goal, aren’t we?” he reflects. “So every day, I try to take a fewmoments to step back and just enjoy and appreciate and look at something that’s lovely. Like when I got up to feed the goat this morning, I went out and got a chicken egg that was still warm, then I twisted o this incredible tomato that was like the best-looking tomato you’ve ever seen, and I ate themboth on toast with butter, basil and a bit of garlic. “You’re up and about, you’re outside, the sun’s shining… Life doesn’t get much better than that.” interesting young people coming through with big ideas.” By way of example, he points to the regenerative agriculture (or regen ag) movement being driven by a new generation of farmers, many of themactive on social media. (This summer, more than 6,500 people turned up to Groundswell – dubbed ‘the Glastonbury of regen ag’.) For Julius, social and other media activities are also a form of diversification. “My farm isn’t big enough to support me financially,” he explains. “So just in the same way that some farmers hire out shepherd’s huts on their land, or do hedging or contract work, for me, Instagramand books and things like that are a way of supportingmyself.” Those tousled, boyish good looks probably don’t do him any harmon the socials, either, suggests Weekend. “I think the youth thing is the biggest part of it,” he says, slightly dodging the compliment. “I think people have enjoyed seeing a 23-year-old sack o life in London andmake quite a bold step, I suppose, to get back in touch with nature.” Good looks or not, the farmer’s life can be tricky when it comes to dating. For three years, Julius was in a relationship F O O D B I T E S really fantastic Italian food. And one called The Parlour [in Burton Bradstock] – they do amazing pizzas in their wood- red oven. And there’s Amelia, about an hour’s drive away, near Dartmoor, but it’s worth it. A walk on Dartmoor, and lunch at Amelia. That’s such a good day. Do you ever just get a takeaway? No, never! Best thing you’ve made for dinner recently? We had a lovely thing the other day – boiled new potatoes, a jar of quality tuna and crunchy, homegrown runner beans, with salt, olive oil, lemon and mint. That was it, and it was so delicious. The potatoes were from my local Waitrose. Your potatoes are the best. Have you found any good local restaurants? Absolutely. There’s a great place called Brassica [in Beaminster], which does CLOSE BOND Julius on his farm lming A Taste of the Country (main); sardine puttanesca from his new book (far left, top); newborn lambs (middle); hard at work on the veggie patch (bottom) The FarmTable: ACookbook by Julius Roberts (Ebury Press) is out on 26 September TERRIFIC TASTE Mixed tomatoes, nectarine and ricotta from Brassica

15 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 Food&Drink ALISON OAKERVEE Partner & food and drink editor Photographs: Kate Whitaker, Food styling: Hattie Arnold, Styling: Max Robinson, Art direction: Pippa Paine This week, we spotlight the fabulous farmers who supply Waitrose with meat, sh and fresh produce, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure of visiting over the years. They were chosen because they share our high standards and are a big part of what makes Waitrose di erent. I’m always impressed with how they look after their livestock and the environment, and the hard work and dedication that goes into what they do – often for 365 days a year. You can ‘meet’ them on p34 and on Instagram (@waitrosefarmers) to nd out more about their lives on the farm. What’s For Dinner? p16 Short Cuts p21 Too Good ToWaste with Elly Curshen p25 The Best withMartha Collison p26 Apple and Pear Recipes p28 Very Important Farmers p34 Wine List with Pierpaolo Petrassi MW p38 FRUIT FORWARD Apples and pears hit the sweet spot in ve irresistible recipes, p28

16 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 Recipes: Rebecca Woollard, Photographs: Hannah Hughes, Food styling: Marina Filippelli, Styling: Julie Patmore, Art direction: Corrie Heale What’s for dinner? Take the stress out of themidweekmeal planning with these quick, easy and delicious dishes

17 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 Food&Drink Serves 4 Prepare 15 minutes Cook 20 minutes 400g oven chips (optional) 380g pack Essential British Chicken Breast Fillets 2 tsp Essential Olive Oil, for drizzling 1 tsp oregano 4 brioche burger buns, split 4 tsp French’s Classic Yellow Mustard 2 gherkins or 4 cocktail gherkins, sliced 1 Essential Little Gem Lettuce, leaves separated ½ x 300g pack yogurt dressed coleslaw, plus extra to serve, if liked 1 Preheat the oven, then cook the chips, if using, according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, put the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of baking parchment and bash with a rolling pin until around 1cm thick. Cut each breast in ½, then drizzle with olive oil, season and evenly scatter both sides with the oregano. 2 Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan or griddle pan over a high heat until hot. Cook the chicken, pressing down on it with a spatula, for 3 minutes each side, until golden and crisp on the outside, with no pink meat and juices that run clear. Leave to rest on a plate covered with foil, then toast the buns, cut-side down, in the pan for a minute or so. 3 To assemble, spread the bun bases with some mustard, then add gherkin slices and a chicken breast piece. Top with lettuce leaves and a couple of spoonfuls of coleslaw, then the bun lid. Serve with the chips, if using, and extra coleslaw on the side. Per serving (without chips) 1378kJ/328kcals/12g fat/ 2.2g saturated fat/27g carbs/5.9g sugars/3.6g bre/26g protein/1.6g salt Griddled chicken & slaw sandwich Serves 4 Prepare 10 minutes Cook 15 minutes 750g baby new potatoes, halved (large ones quartered) 210g pack Scottish hot smoked mackerel llets 3 Essential Oranges, skin and pith removed, cut into segments or slices 80g bag watercress 20g pack chives, cut into short lengths 1 echalion shallot, sliced into very thin rings 3 tbsp honey & mustard dressing, to taste 1 Boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water for 15 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and allow to steam for 2-3 minutes in the colander. 2 Meanwhile, remove the skin from the sh and break the esh into large chunks. Add to a bowl, then toss with the oranges, watercress, chives and shallot. 3 Once the potatoes have steamed, add them, together with the dressing and some seasoning, to the bowl. Toss everything together once more and serve immediately. Per serving 1703kJ/407kcals/18g fat/3.1g saturated fat/ 41g carbs/15g sugars/9.2g bre/16g protein/0.6g salt/ 1960mg omega 3/1 of your 5 a day Smokedmackerel salad with orange & chives COOK’S TIP If you haven’t segmented an orange before, search ‘Waitrose how to segment an orange’ in your browser, for the step-by-step guide. A WINNER FOR ANIMAL WELFARE Waitrose has won the Best Retailer Award 2022 from Compassion in World Farming for the fourth time in a row. The world’s leading farm animal welfare organisation scored its welfare standards higher than any other supermarket in its biannual awards. The retailer says the best quality food comes from animals that are treated with compassion and care.

19 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 Serves 4 Prepare 10 minutes Cook 35 minutes 200g pack Essential British Unsmoked Bacon Lardons 1 onion, thinly sliced 500g Essential Courgettes, cut into bitesized chunks 2 cloves garlic, crushed 400g pack cherry vine tomatoes 200g Essential Macaroni 1L chicken stock (made using 2 cubes) 2 x 400g cans Essential Chickpeas In Water, drained and rinsed 20g Essential Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, nely grated ¼ x 25g pack basil, leaves picked 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to serve 1 Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the lardons. Fry for 6-7 minutes, stirring often, until the lardons are golden and crisp. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan, and set aside. 2 Return the pan to the heat, add the onions and courgettes and fry for 4-5 minutes, until softening. Stir often and scrape the base of the pan to release any sticky bacon fat. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes more until fragrant, then add the tomatoes, pasta, stock and chickpeas and bring to a simmer. 3 Once bubbling, partially cover the pan, reduce the heat slightly and gently simmer for 15 minutes more, until the pasta is tender and you have a soupy-stew consistency. 4 Check the seasoning, then divide between bowls and top with the reserved lardons, the cheese, basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately. Per serving 2318kJ/552kcals/18g fat/5.6g saturated fat/64g carbs/10g sugars/13g bre/27g protein/2g salt/ 2 of your 5 a day Bacon & courgette pasta with chickpeas Serves 4 Prepare 15 minutes Cook 15 minutes 2 x 192g packs The Levantine Table Sweet Potato Falafels Essential White Pitta, toasted, to serve Essential Greek Style Yogurt, to serve Fragata Hot Peppers Guindillas, to serve (optional) For the pickled cabbage ½ small red cabbage, cored then shredded nely 1 Essential Lemon, juice ½ tsp salt For the salad 1 Essential Cucumber, quartered and cut into bitesized pieces 200g Essential Cherry Tomatoes, halved 1 Essential Little Gem Lettuce, or similar crunchy lettuce, shredded 25g pack coriander, leaves roughly chopped 2 tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Tahini 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, crushed ½ tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Pomegranate Molasses 1 Preheat the oven and cook the falafels according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, put the red cabbage into a bowl with the lemon juice and salt. Scrunch the juice and salt into the cabbage using your hands, then leave to stand while the falafels cook – scrunch twice more during the resting process. 2 To make the salad, toss the cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce and coriander in a large bowl. Whisk the tahini, oil and garlic together and season well. Tumble into the salad. 3 Once the falafels are ready, drizzle the salad with the pomegranate molasses. Serve with the cabbage, pitta, yogurt and hot peppers, if using. V Per serving (excluding hot peppers) 3255kJ/779kcals/ 41g fat/5.7g saturated fat/75g carbs/31g sugars/14g bre/ 21g protein/2.4g salt/3 of your 5 a day Falafel with tahini-dressed salad & pickled cabbage COOK’S TIP The cabbage can be pickled up to 24 hours ahead. Keep any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days – it’s great with grilled meats too. COOK’S TIP If you have a spare parmesan rind in the fridge or freezer, add it during the simmer stage – it will give a delicious depth of avour. Remove before serving.

21 14 SEPTEMBER 2023 Food&Drink to extraordinary TV When you settle down on the sofa this evening, it could be a hassle to choose a new series to watch. But with Sky and Netflix together in one simple subscription, now there’s an easier way to have a great night in. sky.com/tv Serves 2 Ready in 55 minutes Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Put the chicken into a medium roasting tray, skin-side up. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, season and roast for 10 minutes. Remove the butter from the vegetables pack, then tumble them and the rosemary from the pack in the chicken juices. Season. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until the chicken is golden, with no pink meat and the juices run clear. Add the zest and juice of the lemon to the tray for the nal 5 minutes of cooking time. Melt the butter in a large pan, then tear in the kale, leaving out any large stems, and toss for 3-5 minutes until tender. Serve with the chicken and vegetables. SHORT CUTS Chicken&autumn veg traybake 2 Essential British Chicken Legs Sweet kingdom carrot, butternut squash, parsnip & red onion Cooks’ Ingredients Unwaxed Lemons Pentland Brig Kale

ADVERT I SEMENT FEATURE Going ORGANIC Serves 2 Prepare 15 minutes Cook 40-45 minutes 400g Waitrose Duchy Organic Baby Potatoes, larger ones halved 200g Waitrose Duchy Organic Beetroot, scrubbed and trimmed, skins left on 1½ tbsp olive oil 440g pack slow cooked salt beef brisket 1 tsp red wine vinegar For the salad & to serve 150g cucumber, peeled, halved, deseeded and cut into small cubes 1 large shallot, nely chopped ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp caster sugar 1 tsp Essential Hot Horseradish Sauce (optional) 125g Rachel’s Greek Style Natural Set Yogurt Sachet mustard tartar sauce (from the beef brisket pack, above) ⅓ x 20g pack dill, leaves only, roughly chopped Salt beef with roast veg & cucumber salad 1 Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes in salted water until tender. Meanwhile, cut the beetroot into 1cm cubes. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and put the beets on one side of it. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. 2 Once tender, drain the potatoes. On the other side of the baking sheet, crush each potato a little with the back of a spoon, until the skins split and the esh cracks in places. Season the potatoes and beets, then drizzle with the oil. 3 Prepare the beef according to pack instructions. Cook with the vegetables for 25 minutes, with the beef on the oven’s middle shelf and the vegetables at the top. As they cook, put the cucumber and shallot into a medium bowl. Stir in all the other salad ingredients (reserve a little dill to serve) then set aside. 4 When the beef is cooked, the potatoes crisp and the beets tender, splash the vinegar over the beets. Slice the beef thickly onto 2 plates (any leftover is delicious in a sandwich or shredded into a pan fried hash) and spoon over a little of the cooking liquor. Mound the potatoes alongside, scatter with the beets and add the cucumber salad and dill. Serve immediately. Per serving 2884kJ/690kcals/35g fat/13g saturated fat/ 43g carbs/14g sugars/8.2g bre/47g protein/3.7g salt Creamy smoked haddock, potato, Cheddar & chive gratin Serves 2 Prepare 10 minutes Cook 30 minutes 2 Waitrose Duchy Organic British Baking Potatoes, peeled 260g pack No.1 Smoked Haddock Loins 15g butter 1 large echalion shallot, halved then thinly sliced 1 tbsp plain our 200ml Waitrose Duchy Organic British Free-Range Whole Milk ½ tsp Dijon mustard, or more to taste ¼ x 20g pack chives, nely chopped 75g Waitrose Duchy Organic Farmhouse Mature Cheddar, grated 1 Cut the potatoes into thin chips, about 1cm x 0.5cm. Put into a large pan of cold water, bring to the boil, then cook gently for 5 minutes until tender. Lift out into a colander with a large slotted spoon and steam dry. 2 Keep the water in the pan, add the haddock and lower the heat. Poach gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes, then turn o the heat (reserve 75ml poaching water). Meanwhile, melt the butter in a wide ovenproof pan. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt, then cover and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to caramelise. 3 Stir the our into the shallot, then cook for 2-3 minutes until it smells biscuity. With the pan o the heat, gradually stir or whisk in some of the milk until smooth, then add the remainder, plus the reserved poaching water. Simmer gently for 2 minutes, until the consistency of double cream. Preheat the grill to high. 4 Stir the mustard, ½ the chives and 25g cheese into the creamy sauce. Season, then gently fold in the potatoes. Lift the sh from the poaching water, sit it on top, then scatter the remaining cheese over everything. Grill for 8-10 minutes, until the sh is opaque and akes easily with a fork, the potatoes are tender and the sauce is bubbling. Scatter with the remaining chives and serve in the dish. Per serving 2474kJ/590kcals/24g fat/15g saturated fat/ 50g carbs/8.6g sugars/6g bre/40g protein/2.1g salt Recipe: Jane Hornby, Photographs: Maja Smend, Food styling: Bianca Nice, Styling: Wei Tang, Art direction: Corrie Heale