Chatsworth’s two estate pubs pride themselves on using local produce. That includes meat, poultry and game from the nearby farm shop – now it also includes fruit and veg grown by the pubs’ customers.
A new barter system has evolved over the summer, offering regulars a chance to swap their home-grown produce for vouchers to spend in the Devonshire Arms pubs at Beeley and nearby Pilsley.
Chef patron Alan Hill says: “This is what I’ve always done since learning to cook at home; it’s not just some fashionable marketing bandwagon to jump on.
“You can really taste the difference when something as down to earth as a carrot has been freshly dug out of the ground and simply cooked.”
Boards are strategically positioned outside the inns with a ‘wish list’, which can include anything from greengages to marrows.
Local gardeners simply turn up with the goods and swap them for a drink or two in the bar. They also have the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of their labour on the menu.
“It’s been really interesting to see what people are growing in their own gardens and allotments. And now word has spread, with customers offering me all sorts of exciting produce that has been lovingly nurtured right here on our doorstep,” says Alan.
His customers are as pleased with the arrangement as he is: “I love gardening but the downside is that everything comes to harvest at the same time,” said one.
Alan also has his own kitchen garden, which is geared towards growing ‘vintage vegetables’ such as chard, herbs and salad leaves.