The Ingredients Behind Bath's Booming Culinary Scene
Fresh farm produce | Courtesy of Hartley Farm
Everyone knows about Bath’s buns, balustrades and bookish connections, but what about its farms, foraging school and specialty food artisans? Here, we pinpoint Bath’s ingredient hotspots and dish up the best of the city.
Get to the source
From cattle to quinoa, Bath is filled with farms that create a beautiful landscape, as well as provide incredible quality culinary ingredients.
Just three miles west of Bath’s fashionable centre lies Newton Farm, a family-run livestock and arable farm with a string of awards to its name. The farm’s 450-strong herd of South Devon, Angus and Hereford cattle mostly spends time roaming the rolling parkland of Newton Estate in the pretty thatched village of Newton St Loe. Reared on a low-input grass-based diet, these animals play an important part in upholding the farm’s agri-environmental status as a Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) farm. Determined to produce ‘food from field to fork’ and ‘bridge the gap between the farmer and the consumer’, Newton Farm prepares its own meat and sells it in the farm’s shop and the bustling café that inhabits its former milking parlour.
Newton Farm Foods, Bath, 2018 | Courtesy of Newton Farm Foods
Bath Farm Girls
Because quinoa originated in the world’s longest mountain range—the Andes—it may come as a surprise that the wheat-free alternative hailed for its health benefits is thriving on English soil. Going against the grain, Bath Farm Girls in the small Saxon village of Corston (west of Bath) is the first farm to have successfully harvested a crop of the red variety in the UK. Passionate about pesticide-free quinoa production, the farm has flourished since its inception in 2013 and now sells nutritious and chemical-free quinoa to the local community and companies like The British Quinoa Company, Pret A Manger and Waitrose, to name a few.
Hartley Farm, Bath, 2018 | Courtesy of Hartley Farm
Based in the ancient village of Winsley east of the River Avon and framed by the wooded backdrop of Bath, Hartley Farm is home to a grass-fed suckler herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle, as well as a vibrant community of food artisan businesses offering everything from fruit and vegetables to organic bread and beer. All home-grown ingredients are showcased in the farm’s shops—Hartley and Neston—and café serving world-inspired comfort food. With provenance at its core, food traceability is everything to this fifth-generation farm.
Located in the village of Rode and only a short distance from Bath, Fussels Fine Foods has been producing rapeseed oil since the 1980s. It all started in a converted pigsty with a cold press and some bottling equipment. Since then, the business has branched out to a bigger building with new pressing facilities, a state-of-the-art filtration system and a demonstration kitchen. From pressing the seeds, cleaning, bottling and labelling the oil to using it in the kitchen, these third-generation farmers welcome you to discover the inherent benefits of cold pressed rapeseed oil—low in saturated fat and high in essential fatty acids—in their deep-yellow world.
Extra virgin rapeseed oil, 2018 | Courtesy of Fussels Fine Foods
Forage for wild food
From garlic, nettles and fungi to lemon balm, elderflower and mint, Bath abounds with wild food throughout the year. But, distinguishing the good from the bad poses challenges for novice foragers. Vale House Kitchen in the village of Timsbury, 13 kilometres (eight miles) southwest of Bath, will bring out your inner hunter gatherer and help you to identify what’s what. The kitchen offers courses on the ancient art of wild food foraging that teach you about the importance of landscape, habitats and tree and plant species. The school’s expert foragers and ecologists also cover safety and legislation, empowering you to safely forage with the knowledge that you’re gathering the right food and not negatively impacting the environment.
Vale House Kitchen, Bath, 2018 | Courtesy of Vale House Kitchen
Sample the produce
Charcuterie, Market, Farmers' Market, British
Bath Farmers’ Market overflows with artisanal food and never fails to pique culinary curiosity. From the Bath Soft Cheese Company to Teeny Greeny Farm and Somerset Charcuterie, foodies flock to the assorted stalls every Saturday for a sniff of the mouthwatering scents.
Bath Soft Cheese Company, Bath, 2018 | Courtesy of Bath Soft Cheese Company
From Bath Blue to Merry Wyfe, the Bath Soft Cheese Company in Kelston, northwest of Bath, has gained a bit of a reputation in the cheese world, winning numerous awards at the World Cheese Awards, the Global Cheese Awards and the Artisan Cheese Awards, among others. Farming since 1914, these dedicated fromagers make their cheese by hand with the milk from their small herd of Holstein Friesian cows. Aside from individual cheeses, wedding cakes layered with the legendary beige-hued wheels are available to order. Taste your way through their latest creations at Bath Farmer’s Market to discover why they are internationally-renowned cheese innovators.
It may be the smallest farm in Bath, but the freshly cut micro-herbs of Teeny Greeny Farm are having a big impact on local market goers. Scattered across rented back gardens, fields and spaces in and around the city, this multi-locational farm harvests an ample crop of coriander, red cabbage and radish microgreens on less than an acre of land. The farm came into existence with the determination to ‘help people reconnect with local food’, but now supplies a number of 5-star restaurants, coffee houses and local pubs in Bath and its environs.
Basket of British Charcuterie, 2018 | Courtesy Somerset Charcuterie
Somerset Charcuterie is all about mixing the old with the new, the continental with the British, while following traditional Spanish, French and Italian methods with local ingredients to create Somerset-inspired charcuterie. Since its conception over a pint of cider at a local lawnmower race, the salami powerhouse has grown into a full-fledged shop and charcuterie school offering specialist courses on the ancient art. Although based in Wrington, Bristol, these local charcuterie producers set up a stall at Bath Farmer’s Market every weekend to display their award-winning range of culatello, salami, coppa and chorizo.