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The Caterer

Better flavour nature's way

14 January 2008
Better flavour nature's way

Hospitality operators should be prepared to pay that little bit extra for biodynamic produce to improve both sustainability and the quality of their food offering, according to Michel Roux Jnr

Someone asked me recently why I use biodynamic produce, and the initial answer was very simple: quality. The taste and texture of the meat, vegetables and herbs is quite stunning. I can definitely taste the difference, and if I can, then I'm pretty sure my customers can too.

But it's not just about taste. There's an important focus on sustainability that goes beyond organic production. A biodynamic farm is a microcosm where everything is naturally produced and fed back into the farm's cycle to ensure future years of successful harvests.

The speed and scale of some mass farming methods cannot hope to be sustainable in this sense. Furthermore, all treatment of the animals is homeopathic and the land is treated with natural preparations, meaning you can be sure that the meat and vegetables are totally pure and natural.

I see biodynamic farming as a return to the way we used to farm - on a smaller scale, naturally resting and regenerating the land to ensure it remains strong and fertile, and harvesting when it is organically ready. To me this is farming in its purest and most natural form.

Whenever I have biodynamic meat delivered, one of the first things I notice is that the animal's name is somewhere on the packaging, which tells me a lot about how biodynamic farmers treat their livestock, and that the animals are well looked after all the way from husbandry through to slaughter. A happy animal will undoubtedly be a healthy animal, and therefore better-tasting. The farm where I source my biodynamic meat, Heritage Prime, allows its animals to grow naturally and slaughters them far later than mass-produced meat. This is far healthier for the animal and produces a much better-quality meat.

There's no getting around it - you do have to pay for quality, and biodynamic produce is a quality product. When you have tasted it and witnessed the time and care that goes into this method of farming, you can understand the increased price, and it's worth spending a little extra on a superior product so that you can enjoy what you're eating to the full.

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