Suffolk-based farmer and television presenter, Jimmy Doherty, is one of the UK’s most recognised farmers. Jimmy is known for his BBC series following his farming exploits ‘Jimmy’s Farm’, the channel four series ‘Food Unwrapped’ and, more recently, ‘Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast’, co-presented with Jamie Oliver.
Here, Jimmy shares his thoughts on the impact that Brexit will have on to farming, the biggest challenges in farming today and what he thinks the future holds for Jimmy’s farm.
What is your goal with the online farm shop and delivery service? What’s important to you?
I’d love my online shop to really grow in 2018 – we really do offer the best meat you can buy – so the fact we can deliver UK-wide is a great thing. Everything from meat cuts, to Christmas meat boxes, to your Sunday brunch sausages, we have it covered. It’s a huge mission of mine to ensure the UK public are eating great meat, and to also know where their meat comes from. There’s a journey and a process and it’s important the British public and children understand that.
What impact do you think Brexit will have on the UK farming industry?
The issue is that no-one knows, which of course is a worry in itself. There is a lot of uncertainty right now but we need to make the best of it when we know more.
What was the most interesting thing you discovered about the science of food production whilst working on the channel 4 series ‘Food Unwrapped’?
The amount of intelligent engineering which goes in to our everyday products is insane. Even in the very biggest factories, there is still someone working out the maths – how do you make shredded wheat from a single grain for example. The amount of processes it goes through – water, drying process, heating, slicing – it really is so interesting.
What’s your personal favourite dish that you serve up at The Restaurant at Jimmy’s Farm?
Oh I just can’t decide between three of our classics – our insanely good beef burger, bangers and mash (with gravy of course) or our Sunday Roast which really is exceptional. People travel far and wide for our Sunday Roast! Our menu really has developed over the years and we listen to our customers. It’s kid friendly too which makes it a great option for families.
What has been the biggest challenge to farming in recent years?
There are always challenges and the uncertainty of Brexit may bring more uncertainties but there are positives. The public are more interested now than ever on what is in their food and where it comes from – this has been really helped by TV, and celebrity chefs talking about it loud and clear. There is also more emphasis on Public Health Awareness – more than there’s ever been. A focus on the best ingredients, and how to eat well to live and a longer and happier life. If I were Minister of Food for the day I’d bring back farming in schools and make it part of the curriculum. It’s so important farming and food education is started young.
What does the future hold for Jimmy’s farm, what are your plans for the next five years?
I hope a really exciting future. In 2018 specifically I am really focusing in on our online shop because I want to ensure Jimmy’s Farm and our produce reaches every part of the UK. We also have a big festival, Jimmy’s Festival every July and 2018 is set to be the biggest, and best year yet – great food, great musical acts, great talent giving drink / food demos and thousands of people coming through the gates to have a great time. Also I’m extending what we offer at the farm, especially for children and students. We have a full educational programme at Jimmy’s Farm – from fishing, to a butchery, to a petting farm and pig feeding! Next year we open a bird and reptile centre which is really exciting!
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