TWO AWARD-winning Devon chefs have joined forces with an egg producer in the area this month (September, 2017) to help highlight the benefits of eating British eggs.
Paul and Donna Berry, who run The Swan in Bampton, are working with John and Mandy Widdowson from Exe Valley Eggs near Stoodleigh to promote the use of free range eggs.
Paul said: “Eggs contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals and are one of the best sources of high quality protein. There are only around 80 calories in a large egg, which means they are great if you’re on a diet or want to eat healthily.
“Also new research out in June’s issue of Complete Nutrition, highlights the growing scientific literature linking regular egg consumption with tangible outcomes such as muscle function and vascular health. Its unique combination of high quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals means it could be called ‘nature’s multi-vitamin’.”
Exe Valley Eggs sells to retailers, restaurants, cafés, pubs and hotels across Devon. The family-run farm supplies eggs laid by hens that roam freely during the day in fields above the Exe Valley. The farm is inspected to RSPCA welfare standards by the organisation’s independently certified farm assurance scheme.
The business was established more than 25-years-ago as a partnership between John and Mandy and John’s in-laws Brian and Gay Grimston. The entire family, including the Widdowson daughters Nicola and Lucy, have played their part in the life of the farm, but John, with the backing of a dedicated workforce, now has day-to-day responsibility.
He said: “We were one of the first farms to recognise the benefits of providing hens with overhead outdoor cover, which gives them the confidence to range more freely. This provides them not only a healthier lifestyle, but a chance to enrich their diet from natural pasture.
“We initially planted more than 5,000 trees and the immediate success of our project was such that it led to the creation of a specific brand of Woodland Eggs now sold by a major supermarket.
“When the hens do go indoors they have the best of feed and facilities including large, straw-strewn scratch areas where they can continue to do what hens like best. They live in five separate flocks spread across the farm which also encourages them to enjoy the natural life.”
The Swan uses more than 150 eggs from Exe Valley each week for the dishes it creates for its diners.
Paul added: “People don’t realise how often eggs are used, where they can be used and that they aren’t just an item for the breakfast table. We’ve been sourcing our free range eggs from John and Mandy for more than 10 years now and they provide a fantastic, tasty product combined with a great service.
“We strive here to champion local producers and we’re keen to let our diners know where their food comes from and how they are also supporting the areas’ farmers when they eat with us. We’re also keen to involve children so they understand where their food comes from and how easy it is to make homemade food from scratch. So, we’ve popped a simple, fun recipe together for a light sponge, using eggs and it’s on our blog for people to try at home with their kids and grandkids.”
The paper published in June’s issue of Complete Nutrition also says that as well as containing high quality protein and fatty acids, there are a number of key nutrients found in eggs – including vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, iodine and choline – that are not present in many other foods, and in which many population groups are known to be deficient.
The report’s author Dr Carrie Ruxton explained: “The evidence is pointing to a specific role for eggs in health, as nature’s very own multivitamin. This may mean that health professionals could be justified in actively promoting the consumption of eggs.
“As recent government data shows, eggs are a veritable natural pharmacy of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and protein, putting them on a par with most of today’s so-called ‘superfoods’. Yet eggs are much more affordable and versatile.”
Now Paul, Donna, The Swan team and Exe Valley Eggs are planning to do more to publicise the benefits of eggs. They hope to have a collection of recipes available for people to download in the autumn from the pub’s blog to link with British Egg Week 2017 from October 9 until 15.
For the sponge recipe and to find out more about The Swan, please call 01398 332248 or visit www.theswan.co.
Porcupine PR team