The Rule of Least Remove, Food and Music

The lunch for the Melton & Rutland Conservative Association lunch at Northfield Farm sold out very quickly after tickets went on sale. The obvious draw was Clarissa Dickson Wright as guest speaker, and she did not disappoint.

Her theme was ‘A Life of Honest Food’. Honesty in food remains such a huge issue and for many people a complete mystery.

I received an email the other day which set out the numbers within bar codes showing from which country a particular item originates. China, whose government declared half of it rivers as being too polluted to drink from, supplies some 70% of the fish consumed world-wide. The email showed photos of a Chinese chicken processor sending staff out to collect dead birds from small farms, take them back on bicycles, pluck & wash them in vile, unsanitary conditions & finally die them with a colour rendering their appearance appetizing again. Fish, Chicken & pigs are all capable of thriving to a certain extent in the most vile of conditions.

There is only one way to buy & consume these meats safely. Observe the ‘Rule of Least Remove’. How far removed are you, the consumer, from the producer of the food you eat? Think about it. The fewer steps you are removed from the original producer, the more certain you can be of a product’s honesty and quality.

I suspect the other less obvious draw was a degree of curiosity, not just about Northfield Farm as a venue for such an auspicious event, but also for the opportunity to observe one of the party’s more colourful characters at close quarters. In the event, Alan Duncan proved a charming and very amusing presence and speaker.

It would be fascinating to host a similar gathering for our other major party and to see how appreciative they would be of the food and surroundings.

Our night of music with the Atlantics and Laura Swaine was attended by nearly 100 people. Our next on Friday 13th November with the Hounddogs promises to be even bigger & better. We already have one booking for a party within the party.

Clarissa will be back for our Christmas Fair on 21st November.

Last night I attended a conference dinner at PERA in Melton for the Market Towns debate on surviving the recession.

Our hosts had made a huge effort with the meal and sourced virtually every ingredient from local producers including Northfield Farm. These producers were invited as guests and gave a talk of varying length about their businesses and the food they had supplied. It was a difficult audience to gauge in terms of their genuine interest, but they did clap with enthusiasm after each speaker had finished. At the end of the evening my neighbour shook my hand and told me how much he had enjoyed the event. He made a particular point of saying how interesting he had found the emphasis on the quality and the provenance of the food. ‘Until now’, he said, ‘I did not think I was interested in food. This evening has changed that completely’. The conference organiser had followed the Rule of Least Remove and deserves huge credit for doing so. I think that simple statement was one of the greatest compliments that could have been paid to any of the producers in the room. I, as a food producer cannot conceive of how anybody could fail to be ‘interested’ in what they eat. Yet I must learn that this is so. The challenge therefore for me and other producers is to go out, missionary-like, to convert the disinterested masses. The after dinner entertainment was by the Melton Musical Theatre Company founded 90 years ago by Sir Malcolm Sargent. They were brilliant. They are in desperate financial trouble. They must be saved. See for more on everything. Visit us soon. Jan McCourt


Author: janmccourt

Farmer, owner of Northfield Farm known for his & its pioneering role as a champion of local food, rare breeds, Borough & Broadway Markets.

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