Farmers in the Peak District have been treated to a taste of their own produce by a new restaurant in Derby called Soul.
It has been set up by Robin Mitchell on the back of a successful delicatessen in the city, with the aim of showcasing fresh, locally sourced food.
The restaurant opened with a taster for its farmer suppliers, including beef producer Arthur Gee, who specialises in rearing and finishing traditional grass-fed cattle such as Dexter and Lincoln Red breeds.
“Soul is the perfect customer because it appreciates my beef – I’m not looking to sell to someone who just wants a cheap joint,” said Mr Gee.
“It’s also a very good shop window for me.”
He farms just 30 miles away, near Buxton.
All the dairy products used come from the Peak District Dairy, also in Buxton.
Mr Mitchell said:
“I am committed to supporting local farmers and producers and always pay a fair price for good-quality produce.
When diners come to Soul, I am able to tell them exactly where their food is from, and how it is reared or grown.”
It was time people started buying food more ethically, said Mr Mitchell, to give them a sense of pride in their region.
The extra work needed to source from multiple small suppliers was well worth it.
He reckoned he would spend about £150,000 on food this year and has plans for expansion.
“Unreliability is just a reality of dealing with smaller-scale producers,” said Mr Mitchell.
“You just have to communicate with them a lot more.
To me, that is how things should be.”