A North Yorkshire restaurant is reaping the benefits of its association with the local museum’s kitchen garden.

Lockwoods is passionate about provenance, knowing where its food has come from and ensuring its quality are crucial ingredients for the Ripon based restaurant. Consequently, a union was formed between the Workhouse Museum’s Kitchen Garden (over the road) and Lockwoods, to supply fresh, unusual and quality fruit, salad, vegetables and herbs throughout their growing season.

So in the summer months, chef and owner, Matthew Lockwood, experiments once a week, mixing and matching whatever the ground at the Workhouse Museum has given him into a dish fit for the ever-changing menu at Lockwoods.

Matthew clears Thursdays of distractions so he can focus on chopping, stirring and creating. It would be much easier if he relied on ingredients readily available at the supermarket like farmed shrimp from Thailand or tomatoes grown in Mexico, rather than Mother Nature.

But at Lockwoods, the mantra is: local, local, local. So local that they partner with the nearby Workhouse Museum to supply fresh ingredients to make fantastic food with real flavour adjusting the menu based on the season.

Here’s how it works: The restaurant sets aside some garbage, including peels, coffee grounds, eggshells and vegetable waste (15kg a day!), then sends a few bucketfuls to the garden for composting. In exchange, the Workhouse Garden volunteers donate to the restaurant whatever they don’t use during harvest.

“There’s a good reason people value local ingredients,” Matthew Lockwood said. “Vegetables are most nutritionally dense within three days of harvest. Seasonal farming lets the ground rest and recharge itself, protecting a sustainable food source for generations to come. Buying locally supports the area’s farmers. It’s also what we all did before food got frozen, sterilized, artificially preserved and freeze dried.”

The setup is ideal. Lockwoods hopes that their connection with the Workhouse Museum Kitchen Garden reduces restaurant waste and helps the environment.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Nick Thompson, who oversees the Workhouse Garden site, “and I think this was our intent all along to grow wonderful vegetables and have them eaten in local restaurants.”

The Workhouse Garden was established in the 1850s to provide vegetables and make the workhouse self sufficient, and is still growing many old Victorian varieties such as British Queen potatoes; a heritage variety first listed in 1894. Oval with white skin and flesh, and packed with taste, now rare, and a Winner of the RHS award of garden merit.  Other heritage varieties include Crimson Flowered Broad Beans (1771), Snowball Turnips (1826), Fat Lazy Blond (1856), Little Gem (1880) and Blonde de Paris (1751) Lettuce, Bulls Blood Beetroot (pre 1900), Oxheart (1882), James Scarlet Intermediate Carrots (1853) and Prince Albert Peas (1842).

Lockwoods gives the Workhouse Museum’s garden a longer reach by exposing its customers to home-grown food that could inspire them to cultivate, too.

 

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