Our Kitchen Garden
See where we grow what's on your plate
Field Kitchen Garden
Nestled in the heart of the Riverford farm, our ingredients are grown just a stone's throw from your plate. We have an abundance of flavoursome, organic veg grown within metres of the restaurant and we also have our own kitchen garden. From here, we grow different varieties that are chosen for flavour and to inspire our guests to try something a little different.
We grow over 28 types of tomatoes, mainly heritage varieties so they grow in all manner of shapes, colours and sizes. We grow sweetcorn, salad leaves, aubergines, squash, lots of basil and herbs, chillies, cucumbers, onions and more. No year is ever the same. Growing our own not only allows us to serve veg that’s truly fresh from the soil, but also lets us experiment with using every part of the plant, so that nothing goes to waste.
We love to share our knowledge of organic gardening and we run many Grow Your Own workshops and we encourage guests to take a wander around the garden and our 60 metre polytunnel. Head Gardener Penny is always on hand to offer advice and tips. Click here to read more.
Everything we grow is 100% organic and slow grown for flavour. Agriculture is necessary for food production. We can’t survive without it, but we can strive to tread on the land as lightly as possible. Organic food is food as it should be: with no artificial nasties, the highest standards of animal welfare, and full traceability from farm to fork.
Organic always means…
No artificial pesticides or fertilisers.
Exceptional standards of animal welfare (better than free range!)
No genetically modified (GM) ingredients or animal feeds.
No routine use of antibiotics.
Free from artificial preservatives and colours.
Organic farming supports biodiversity by providing lots of green spaces. There is 50% more wildlife on organic farms, made up of 30% more species! It’s mutually beneficial: the green borders and thriving hedgerows around our fields provide a habitat for predators like hoverfly and ladybird larvae, who repay the favour by munching aphids off our crops.
The Heritage Seed Library
Seeds aren’t just the beginning of new life, they tell the story of our heritage. Seeds need to be looked after and treasured as you would a much loved family heirloom.
45 years ago, the Government decided to adopt the EEC regulation of creating a National List of seeds. This list would become part of the EEC Common Catalogue of seeds – available to commercial growers. It would be illegal to trade any seed not on the list.
Because of this list, over the last century, many hundreds of vegetable varieties which have been grown for generations by families and communities have disappeared and as each variety disappears, we lose the rich local history that surrounds it, and the important seed saving skills that accompany it. And so it was, that the Heritage Seed Library was founded. To this day it preserves and grows out – with the help of loyal seed guardians - nearly 800 local varieties which would otherwise have been lost.
We have just become Seed Guardians and we're excited to be growing three heirloom varieties; Tomato Devonia, Pea Veitch’s Western Express and CFB Veitch’s Climbing – all of which are regional varieties so their heritage is close to our hearts.
We don't just grow veg. Being an organic farm means we actively encourage biodiversity. There is up to 50% more wildlife on organic farms, made up of 30% species and around 75% more wild bee.
Our head gardener Penny is as passionate about organic blooms as she is veg. She grows flowers in the garden to attract the pollinating wildlife and to decorate the restaurant tables and walls. It also adds a bit of colour to the veg patch which can otherwise be very green. Many of the flowers also end up on the menu as we grow an edible flower garden too.
We run workshops in the garden through Spring and Summer on how to grow your own cutting patch, how to create beautiful summer bloom arrangements and even dried flower wreaths. Read more here.