South West Branch News

From Jane Wills

On Thursday 18 May the Branch visited Langage Farm in Plymouth, which is the first UK carbon neutral dairy with an anaerobic digester facility generating electricity from food waste.

Following the Branch meeting, which was kindly hosted by Langage Farm, we heard about its history and where the company is now in relation to the current business market. In 1980, the farm started producing and selling clotted cream locally, which was made with milk from their own herd. The business has grown considerably since then but still follows traditional methods and recipes. It now sells to large supermarket chains as well as schools and colleges. The farm has 47 staff, all of whom are local. Schools from the area visit on a regular basis and competitions are held, with the winning students having their names printed on the end product sold in local supermarkets.

The Branch also heard about the anaerobic digester process where food waste is converted into gas that powers the farm and factory. Waste food is collected from local businesses and surplus power is directed back to the national grid.

Following the presentations, Branch Members were able to sample the products, which were all excellent. They also received a possible explanation as to the debate over the difference between Devon and Cornwall cream teas. In Devon the jam is on the top of the cream – but in Cornwall it is the opposite – and one theory is that, in Devon, when sugar was first introduced it was very expensive and by serving the jam on top it was a sign of wealth.

The night before, Branch Members had an enjoyable dinner at the Duke of Cornwall, a waterfront hotel with amazing views. The hotel has a plaque to commemorate the fact that some survivors from the Titanic stayed there overnight after the disaster. Sir Ernest Shackleton also stayed in the hotel prior to his ill-fated Antarctic expedition.

It was a brilliant two days and our thanks go to Julia Bowrey, Angie and Gary from Langage Farm for their first-class hospitality and the courtesy shown to the Branch, and for their interesting and informative presentations. Thanks also go to Caroline Darvill and David Kavanagh for making the arrangements for what was a memorable event.

The Team at South Petherton Community Hospital, led by Nikaela Walter who is the Activities Co-ordinator, took part in Thirsty Thursday on 15 June. Patients were treated to various mocktails and other drinks to encourage the importance of hydration, especially during the hot weather.

Other events throughout the year to promote the importance of Nutrition & Hydration are:

  • Fruity Friday: 15 September. All things bright and beautiful because it’s harvest time for a lot of British produce such as apples, pears and berries.
  • Tasty Suppers: 28 November. A reminder about hearty nutrition in the winter months, including warm cosy hot milky drinks.