On FoodSafari in Orford, Suffolk.
Whilst splashing around in my Twitter stream one Saturday night in March, (as you do when you have young kids) one of Polly Robinson’s tweets grabbed my attention. Who was Polly and What was Food Safari I wondered? Naturally, I looked at her website which showcased their product very well. Being a ‘there-and-then’ kind of a guy (actually it only took 8 minutes), and kindly facilitated by the simple and elegant Food Safari website, a few clicks later and I had booked and paid for our places on the Seafood in a Day course which we attended in the very glorious sunshine last Saturday. I guess I join the ranks of being one of Polly’s Twitter Return on Investment (TROI) case studies!
Orford is no stranger to my wife and I. When I first arrived on the UK Shores more than a decade ago I gravitated to Suffolk as my Late Great Aunt and Cousins lived in Orford and Woodbridge. My cousin has always had a fishing boat moored at Orford Quay and we have often been up the river most often picnicing on Havergate island.
The day started when we met at Pinney’s new(ish) quayside shop for a very decent coffee. We walked witha spring in our step: one of those rare times we were childfree, the sun was shining and the day promised an opportunity to understand how Orford and Pinney’s (a business we already knew well) contributed to the reputation that Suffolk is increasingly proud of: being a county known for the quality and diversity of its owner managed foodie offering.
The first part of the day was spent on the Regardless, a fishing boat that took us up the River Ore. We pulled up Lobster Pots: an experience filled with expectant anticipation. Not a single fruitless pot and, as a Woodbridge resident, I couldn’t help wondering how to get into the Lobster business, for personal consumption only that is! We learnt how to sex crabs and that male Lobsters and Crabs were generally better to eat owing to the size of their claws.
Peter, the skipper, also pulled up two generously sized Grey Mullet and convinced us that they were as good as Sea Bass. He prepared them on the boat for the barbeque (sadly, the latter lacking onboard the Regardless)
Our Food Safari continued on land when Bill Pinney talked about the Oyster Beds on the Butley River. Pinney’s is now a third generation family business. In common with many Foodie businesses in Suffolk, the charm and success of the Pinney’s brand appears to be underpinned by the modesty of the business that goes hand in hand with its commitment to quality. Bill talked about their business still being an Artisan business and this was very evident when we were shown around the Smokehouse,the green oak burners still being Bill’s father’s original design.
Lightly smoked, we left for lunch at Pinney’s restaurant in Orford Market square where we savoured a lunch of several of the Pinney’s delicacies, the highlights, being for me, the Smoked Prawns and Cods Roe. Irene, a member of the Pinney’s team, showed us how to slice a side of Smoked Salmon and showed us the best way of opening an oyster.
We both thoroughly enjoyed the day out – I’m off on Safari again at the Catch & Cook event later this month. Apart from Food Safari being a business that we certainly can recommend, Polly does a tremendous job evangelising the fabulous foodie reputation of which Suffolk deserves to be proud.
More photos on Flickr Here