Food here at Crumplebury is front-and-centre, as it has been for generations. We farm organically, grow our animals slowly, sow heritage vegetables seasonally, forage for culinary treasures carefully and manage our old Herefordshire apple orchards sustainably.
Our organic herds of Whitbourne Estate Shorthorn, Saler and Hereford cattle on the home farm put the beef on the tables of both of our countryside restaurants. Our 800-strong flock of Lleyn ewes lamb late, in the rolling pastures which have been their home for more than 30 years, providing us with exceptional home-reared lamb. Gloucester Old Spot and Tamworth pigs roam the woodlands and root in the orchards, living naturally – as happy pigs should – to supply the kitchen with delicious Crumplebury pork. And in autumn and winter, the Whitbourne Estate gamekeepers deliver wild muntjac venison, pheasant, partridge, duck and pigeon to the kitchen door, where our chefs expertly butcher and hang their woodland bounty.
Countryside restaurants with a difference
The track to our front door is a mile-and-a-half long – a hidden gem for foodies in the heart of the Herefordshire countryside. Menus in Green Cow Kitchens, our farm-to-table fine dining countryside restaurant, and The Drinking Trough, our buzzy bar and grill, change every month, and every Saturday, the Chef’s Table opens in Green Cow Kitchens.
Guests gather at one long table, beautifully dressed with home-grown flowers from our cutting garden, and feast on five, seasonal courses. As diners settle in for delicious, homemade cocktails – made with fresh herbs from the Kitchen Garden – and aperitifs, Executive Chef Kevin greets the guests, explaining the provenance of each dish and the way each element is prepared and cooked. It’s a way of helping our guests connect with the landscape, the organic meat we farm here and the story of how it makes its way from farm to table.
In both of our countryside restaurants, each canape, each dish is carefully curated to reflect what’s at its best on the home farm and estate at that very moment. And when the wild garlic is in leaf and the elderflower is early, or the fields are suddenly peppered with puffballs or the courgettes in the raised beds are multiplying at a rate of knots, specials are quickly chalked up. It makes for a thrilling culinary experience – farm-to-fork food with a story, with taste and provenance, and – for the most part – zero food miles.
Seasonal ingredients from our estate
Eating seasonally is a chance to reconnect with nature, to understand the landscape and to celebrate the passing of the year as spring moves into summer and the autumn mists roll in. Here in the UK, we are fortunate to have four distinct seasons, and those seasons are writ large on the rolling hills and valleys of our rural Herefordshire home. In winter, when the estate is blanketed in snow, chilly nights and frosty mornings sweeten the parsnips and carrots in the Kitchen Garden. Celeriac and kale fill the raised beds, fronds of fennel bring a splash of green to the bare earth and potatoes are ready to harvest.
Drive down the long and winding track to our front door and spot the iridescent plumage of pheasants and red-legged partridge darting across the fields. And out on the estate, Marvin the Head Keeper and his team are busy with shoot days, keeping Green Cow Kitchens is abuzz with private dining shoot lunches – guns and beaters toasting the day’s quarry.
Our menus through the seasons
As winter turns to spring and the bluebell woods are all a-twitter with nesting birds, the ancient Teme Valley oaks burst into leaf and the watery sun warms the earth, it’s wild garlic season. Chefs forage the banks of the babbling Sapey Brook – which yields us beautiful brown trout for our countryside restaurants – for the glossy green leaves, the air heavy with the pungent scent of garlic. As soon as it arrives in the kitchen, this Ramsons, as it’s properly known, is turned into wild garlic pestos and butters, ready to drizzle over organic Whitbourne Estate steaks and burgers made from succulent Hereford beef from our farm. It’s show-stopping paired with our juicy, ripe, full-of-flavour heritage tomatoes.
By May, asparagus comes into its own, delicious spears delivered by specialist growers in the neighbouring Wye Valley who share our values of organic farming and seasonal food. Crumplebury lamb is the star of the show of our spring menus – nurtured on the lush, green pastures this flock has called home for 30 years or more. And our beef is at its seasonal best, reared by Farmer Tim and his family – our long-time tenant farmers who cherish this landscape as much as we do.
In summer, the raised beds in the Kitchen Garden are abundant with courgettes, chard, peppers and salad crops; summer squash; French, runner and broad beans and radishes and more. Fruit cages shield raspberries and kale from birds and caterpillars. Vines weigh heavy with plump tomatoes and tiny apples and pears form on our espalier trees lining the garden. In the herb garden, 10 or more varieties of mint make delicious cocktails for the Drinking Trough, and rosemary, thyme, sage and bay are picked each day by the kitchen brigade. Over in the cutting garden, blowsy dahlias, sweet peas and old English roses bloom in all their glory, ready to dress our spaces and the tables in our countryside restaurants.
Every season yields its bounty, knitting tighter the story of our home farm, gardens and estate, and those who live, work and dine here.