Sheffield Co-Op Regather promotes local growers at Eating Seasonally

Sheffield Unchained had the tantalising privilege of attending Regather’s second Eating Seasonally Supper Club, where we spoke to one of the co operative’s founders Gareth Roberts and had a very tasty supper.

Hosted by the Regather Co-Operative in Sharrow, Eating Seasonally is a sit down four course vegetarian meal using seasonal produce from local producers like Full Circle Farm and Wortley Hall Walled Garden.

The idea for the event came about when Linzi Hughes, an Events Management student at Sheffield Hallam University, decided to organise an event during National Vegetarian Week.

Linzi, 21, has just completed a years placement at Regather and she was inspired by Regather’s focus on connecting different parts of the local food system, based on previous research they did for the Plunkett Foundation.

Gareth Roberts, founder member of Regather explained more:

A few years ago we were commissioned to do research into the local food system in Sheffield and what we identified was a number of gaps in the local food system. This led us to invest in a kitchen at Regather Works and to start up a weekly veg box.

These projects serve two very important purposes; the kitchen is about adding value and turning raw produce into sellable goods whilst also helping small food businesses grow by renting out our kitchen.

The fruit and veg box is about making that connection between local producers and market gardeners who are increasing in Sheffield. It is about making a direct connection between them and the customers, by delivering local organic fruit and veg every week.

Fran and Luke of Full Circle Farm preparing the Regather Veg Box, image by Humbledinger Limited

Fran and Luke of Full Circle Farm preparing the Regather Veg Box, image by Humbledinger Limited

Linzi explained how working at a co-op means everyone makes decisions together and chips in with their skills and ideas:

After a lot of e-mails and conversation with everyone at Regather, we came up with the idea of running a supper club using seasonal food and showcasing Regather’s veg box.

I managed everything about the event, I even made the poster, I feel so proud of myself.

With the help of Fran Humphries of Full Circle Farm, who also helps run the veg box at Regather, Linzi located the fusion chef and food-lover Komal Khan. Komal, who works full time as a pastry chef at independent cafe Amici Bici and runs Sheffield’s only supper club, agreed to cook the four course vegetarian meal.

Fushion chef and foodie, Komal Kahn preparing the salad for Eating Seasonally #2, image by Humbledinger Limited

Fushion chef and foodie, Komal Kahn preparing the salad for Eating Seasonally #2, image by Humbledinger Limited

Linzi emphasised that everything at Eating Seasonally is done voluntarily and that the money from tickets covers the food, whilst any surplus goes into Regather’s community events. Linzi explained that supporting Regather events and local producers is like putting money into your own pocket:

You’re paying for yourself to have a better experience through community events run by Regather and local businesses and you’re helping to support a better local environment.

Eating Seasonally aims to celebrate local produce from Sheffield and to show that you can have a delicious meal without meat. Our aim is to work co-operatively, and to educate people about the local food system. We also give out a goody bag which tells people about the independent businesses in Sheffield.

So far Eating Seasonally has showcased independents such as Full Circle Farm, Wortley Hall Walled Garden, Mr Pickles Yorkshire Food Emporium and Abbotts Cookshop.

Waiting for the first course at the second Eating Seasonally hosted by Regather, photo by Marishka Van Steenbergen

Waiting for the first course at the second Eating Seasonally hosted by Regather, photo by Marishka Van Steenbergen

There were 26 diners at the second Eating Seasonally event, which included a delicious sorbet before each course. For starters we had a Gooseberry and Mint sorbet before a very tasty Beetroot, Kohlrabi and Pak Choi salad, followed by a Pea and Broad Been Croquette dish and then a delicious Mango and Ginger sorbet before the flavoursome Chana Dal with Wild Nettle and Spinach. My favourite was the desert, a Dark Chocolate Ganache Torte which left me completely satiated, yet wanting to savour the taste forever.

There was also a presentation from Darrell Maryon about the organic produce at Wortley Hall Walled Garden who supply many of the vegetables in the Regather veg box.

We signed up to the Regather veg box after attending Eating Seasonally, here is a delcious salad we made just from the veg box

We signed up to the Regather veg box after attending Eating Seasonally, here is a delcious salad we made from the veg box, photo by Marishka Van Steenbergen

Regather said the event was so wonderful that they are hoping to host pop-up restaurant events every month from now on.