SPRING FEASTING AT NANCARROW FARM
Nancarrow is a picture-perfect working farm situated in a valley on the outskirts of Truro, with opportunity for guests to enjoy the produce grown and reared in the surroundings at multiple feast evenings throughout the year, prepared by resident chefs Darren Broom and Jack Bristow.
We were invited to go along to an April feast and discovered that driving along the farm track towards Nancarrow Farm is an enjoyable experience in itself; after turning off the main road with the rumble of a cattle grid, the resident cows will be the first thing you see, grazing lazily on the lush grass, tails swinging with what we can only imagine is pure joy at their idyllic surroundings.
On arrival we were greeted by Steve (partner at the farm) who handed us a detailed map for a self-guided tour of the farm and a drink; brandy infused fortified wine with ice and a wedge of lemon, peachy in colour and delicious in flavour.
We were directed to the other side of the courtyard for canapés: clinched and cured salmon, smoked for 24 hours over bare, hot coals and served on rustic rye bread, topped with a coriander and beetroot yoghurt.
The salmon was unbelievably fresh, thickly sliced and a fantastic colour against the pink yoghurt and rustic wooden serving boards, which are homemade from a felled tree on the farm. Our main was also cooking beside us above hot coals, an 11 year old cow that had lived on the farm its whole life and was finally being enjoyed in the surroundings it had been reared in.
We were asked to arrive at 6.30pm, providing enough time to have a wander around the farm before taking our seats for the first course at 7pm. So we followed the map and met the residents: super friendly spring lambs, fluffy ginger cows, and boisterous pigs.
We made our way back to the barn, ordered our drinks from the very well-stocked bar and took our allocated seats at one of the banquet tables. The sunlight was streaming through the expansive windows at the end of the barn and the tables were beautifully decorated with small bunches of wild flowers and candles, with wooden boards of soft bread rolls and huge lumps of cultured butter ready to be enjoyed.
The first course was ash baked potatoes, fermented wild garlic, fresh cheese, cured ox heart and artichoke crisps. The potatoes were cooked perfectly, with a beautifully creamy texture and smoky flavour, and tasted delicious combined with the salty cheese and wild garlic. I couldn’t identify the ox heart, which had apparently been slow cooked and grated over the dish, but nonetheless it was a great starter.
The main was served in bowls and platters to share; succulent beef served sliced with a generous pinch of salt, fresh mint and rosemary; creamy spelt with pickled chanterelle mushrooms and spinach; and fresh peas, leeks and gem lettuce drizzled with truffled salad cream.
The vegetables were served in beautiful bowls, hand-thrown by Rebecca Proctor who was in attendance on this particular evening.
Dessert was a lemon meringue tart with passionfruit curd, a zesty and sweet combination topped with little chunks of fudgy white chocolate.
Plates were cleared and the waitresses and chefs appeared, each carrying a bowl of homemade, bitesize gooseberry marshmallows. We helped ourselves from Jack Bristow’s bowl, who explained that gooseberry compote had been added in the last stage of mixing the marshmallows, producing a tart topping to the sweet, squidgy treat that provided the perfect palette cleanser to the meal.
The next feast at Nancarrow Farm will be held on 10 May, and on 17 May the Nancarrow team are taking the show on the road for the first in a series of Farm Gate Feasts, which are hosted in partnership with other members of the farming community. On this occasion the feast will be held at the peak of asparagus season at Tregassow Farm near Trispen, only five miles from Nancarrow.
Visit nancarrowfarm.co.uk to sign up to the mailing list and to buy tickets.
Thank you to Steve, Jack, Darren, and all the rest of the lovely staff, for looking after us so well.
Images by Holly Gear.