David Grimwood reveals the inspiration behind ‘The Imagined Suffolk Food Village’ at FolkEast 2015, a new collaboration between some of Suffolk’s finest food and drink producers, retailers and restauranteurs including The New York Apple Butter Co., Florence and the Fish, and The Awesome Bakers of Pump Street.
How did you come across FolkEast?
I started out as an enthusiastic punter. I love the music and went with my family the first year at Glemham Hall. We had such a great time. This last year we had three generations of my family at the festival and there really was something for everyone from 2 years and upwards to do!
Why did you decide to get involved in FolkEast?
When we came that first year, we obviously ate a variety of the typical festival food that was on offer. I confess I thought there is an opportunity here, this festival is about the folk from the east…we could do something quite lovely with locally nurtured food…giving it the festival twist. I approached John and Becky Marshall-Potter, the organisers, with an idea that actually came from one of the folk bands we know of – namely – A collaboration of brilliant musicians called ‘The Imagined Village’.
This band takes a whole heap of fantastic musicians and brings them together to create something breathtakingly brilliant. I thought that it would be in keeping with the festival and an added bonus to festival-goers to do this with Suffolk food producers.
We have taken some of the best local producers, suppliers and restaurateurs and brought them together as ‘The Imaged Suffolk Food Village’ – to provide a daily changing feast from the bountiful Suffolk larder to stimulate and nourish festival-goers throughout the whole festival. It’s reasonably priced, unpretentious, tasty, amazing local food.
This year we’ve added in workshops that get people cooking and eating the food too. Not the type of demos you’d find at a food festival. That’s not what we’re trying to emulate. Rather, informal family cooking to get the kids involved and show people why Suffolk food is some of the best around. There will be foraging and camp fire cookery, there will be fun, music and laughter – what’s not to like!
What makes Folk East special? Why would you recommend it?
It really is a family festival. There’s so much to see and do. It’s safe, friendly, relaxed and entertaining. You might doubt the type of music, but in fact you will be surprised at the diversity of what is on offer – even the sceptics end up tapping their feet and having a ball – it’s simply a fun, friendly, laid-back community unwinding and sharing their skills and creativity (hopefully) in the Suffolk sunshine.
What kind of food & drink will be available at the Festival?
All manner of great treats – For example for breakfast one day you might have succulent Lane Farm bacon in a soft Pump Street Bakery bap with a Scarlett & Mustard sauce and a large cup of the Suffolk Coffee Company’s coffee or a zingy Hedgerow Cordial to wash it down. Sheer bliss.
For lunch a delicious Duck Truck wrap or perhaps a freshly made curry thickened with Marybelle Dairy yoghurt, or crisp, battered local fish and chips with mushed peas and tartare sauce.
There’s the ‘Pick-and-Mix’ Salad bar – ideal for the vegetarians amongst us.
For a mid-morning or afternoon snack perhaps some Pump Street Bakery doughnuts, fresh croissant or Eccles cakes with local cheese. An Artisan Smokehouse smoked meat platter with pickles and Sourdough or a Truly Traceable venison pie or pigeon sausage roll from our Village Store? Add lots of ‘grab and go’ stuff and you won’t go hungry in this village!
For supper perhaps a Legendary Pigeon burger from The Froize’s own festival van – ‘Gloria!’ or a sublime stew of local chorizo sausages and mushrooms in a funky-chunky tomato sauce, or warming, spiced venison wrap with salad and minted yoghurt….Mmmmm!
There’s sweet stuff too…..we are, after all, very fond of pudding! (Perhaps even Treacly ones!)
Then on the Sunday we are taking our restaurant into a field and serving ‘Sunday Lunch’ – Yes! ‘’Froize in a field at Folk East!’’….now that’s a F-East indeed! – Blythburgh Freerange pork…roasties and lots of local veg…gravy and Bramley apple sauce. Plus a choice of pudding…Yum (and I promise, something scrummy for the non-meat eaters…don’t worry)
Is FolkEast a festival for foodies?
FolkEast is a festival for everyone. The main draw is undoubtedly the music, which is as varied as it is skilfully performed. The range of workshops from pottery to pigeon plucking, Morris dancing, knitting, guitar playing, singing and more – go a long way towards making the festival inclusive and unpretentious.
Does the food at FolkEast showcase Suffolk’s finest?
Absolutely, many of Suffolk’s finest are there flying the flag, and next year – even more!
Do you know where it’s all from / produced?
Yes. I use lots of locally produced stuff in my restaurant, the Froize in Chillesford. I’ve grown up here, Aldeburgh is my home town, Orford and the surrounds are my history, and having worked in the catering industry – mostly in Suffolk for over 40 years, I do know most of the producers personally.
Is it expensive? Festival food usually is…?
It’s not. It’s fairly priced. It’s something we feel strongly about. People need to be able to feed a family for a whole weekend and we take that into account.
Is there time to enjoy it all??
Enjoyment comes from doing our bit well. You get caught up with the whole festival really…although we do try and let our lovely helpers go and see their fav. band!
Last meal? What would it be?
Simply a fresh Dover sole cooked with butter and lemon juice with runner beans and new potatoes from the garden….. But I’m not ready to call it a day just yet!
Do you think ‘eating local’ is genuinely feasible?
It is – but it’s not the cheapest way to eat. I think people should buy a little bit of everything local as often as they can. The East of England Coop does a lot of local produce, there are farmers markets, fish sheds and farm shops a plenty. It is well worth it for the goodness and flavour, and to support our local producers where and whenever possible.
FolkEast takes place on 21st, 22nd and 23rd August 2015 at the beautiful venue of Glemham Hall. Find out more about the folk festival and The Imagined Suffolk Food Village at www.folkeast.co.uk