Summer season starts now

The last few weeks have been really hectic and we have managed to get Richard up to London on more than one occasion. Our first foray up to the bright lights was to give a presentation at the Company of Cooks senior management conference. They wanted a supplier that they felt adopted the same principles as themselves to produce an unrivalled product. Richard was able to tell them about our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint by (a) planning to phase out our use of polystyrene boxes, (b) building an eco-friendly waste water recycling plant behind the factory to recycle our waste water, (c) experiments we have been involved in extracting fish oil from our fish waste to develop a bio fuel that we can use commercially. We also encouraged them to look at the possibility of putting eel back on the menu by embracing our sustainable eel campaign.

The next day it was back up to London for the launch of the ‘Sustainable Eel Standard‘ at Fishmongers’ Hall. As members of the Sustainable Eel Group we decided it was an opportunity to show our tanks in school scheme and duly arrived with our two tanks of elvers, which definitely created plenty of interest. We also had about 16,000 juvenile eels to release into the Thames, so looking about for a suitable candidate we jumped on Malcolm Emery of Sodexho to help us with the release. All was going well until Malcolm stepped forward and some idiot in a speed boat went by, Malcolm being the only one without wellington boots on, probably came in contact with more of the Thames than he bargained for. I hope the satisfaction of releasing so many juveniles back into the wild was some compensation. Silla Bjerrum of Feng Sushi was also present and was thrilled when we offered her the opportunity of putting one of our elver tanks in her South Bank restaurant. She is now the proud surrogate mother for the next 8 weeks, to about 400 elvers. Anyone in London who would like to see how our tanks in schools scheme works, pop down to Feng Sushi next to the Festival Hall.

For the past two years Sodexho have operated the Severn & Wye seafood restaurant at Chelsea Flower Show. This year we decided that it was time we visited the restaurant as customers and get the customer experience. It’s always a risk holding hands with a catering operator but any fears or nerves we had were dispelled when we were shown round all the catering venues on site. Tom Parry and his staff do an amazing job; this is event catering that has to provide quality in huge numbers successfully. We realised that next year we will have to bring some of our factory staff up so as they can see the result of their hard work, and how the product is served to the public. For us Chelsea Flower Show marks the start of ‘The Event Season’ which means that we now move on to the next event, The Welsh Golf Open at Celtic Manor this weekend. Different numbers but requires the same attention to detail, quality and service.

1st June marks the start of summer and is the official opening day of the English and Welsh salmon season. Ade Edmondson is coming down this Friday to see some of the various methods of salmon fishing on the River Severn for a television series he is making about English produce and the history behind them. We plan to get Ade to release 10,000 juvenile eels to mark the end of the elver season, ‘’a gift back to the wild.’’ Eel luv it. In fact while I’ve been writing this four of the season’s first English wild salmon have just come through the door. One fish has weighed in at 10.4kg, you don’t see many of those in a lifetime, may be this will be another good season.

We are planning a trip next week to the Faroe’s for a farm visit to the producers of Var Salmon. More of that in the next newsletter.

Volunteers wanted to help publicise and assist us with our ‘Tanks in Schools’ elver releases which we are planning in about six weeks time. Those who would like to get involved and give themselves a warm glow give me a ring, speak soon.