Food Producers … The Roslin Beach Hotel, Thorpe Bay
PUBLISHED: 21:13 24 February 2014 | UPDATED: 21:13 24 February 2014
MANY hotels in Essex promote the provenance of their locally-sourced ingredients, but The Roslin Beach Hotel in Thorpe Bay has taken things a step further by buying and running its own farm. Keith Singleton, project manager for the owners of the hotel, explains how the farm came into existence. The Roslin Hotel bought a 180-acre farm in Hampshire and the hotel, which overlooks the Thames estuary, at the same time. It's not a large commercial farm, but it's big enough for the hotel's needs, so it was decided to put the land to use and start supplying the produce for the Roslin.'
Keith set to work and employed a couple of stockman, Chris Kingshott and Ian Hiscock, to care for the animals. That was four years ago and the farm now produces beef from traditional Hereford cattle, which is a native breed, and also Dexter cattle, which are renowned for quality and flavour.
Building up the farm and its stock levels has taken Keith and the stockmen four years of careful planning and also followed close analysis of the needs of the hotel. ‘We’ve expanded over time and also now supply the Roslin with all of its pork from our Large White Cross pigs and rare breed pigs. We also supply the hotel’s lamb, chickens and seasonal turkeys, with the latest addition to the stock being our Aylesbury ducks.’
Producing meat on the farm for the Roslin Hotel and its guests gives the hotel 100% traceability. ‘Nowadays people are very wary about where their produce comes from,’ explains Keith. However, there are no current plans for the farm to grow its own fruit and vegetables for the hotel too. ‘The trouble with vegetables is that you either have a glut of them or none at all and as we want to give the guests the freshest produce at all times, that wouldn’t work for us.’
Part of Keith’s role is to liaise with the hotel chefs ahead of his own schedules so that his stockmen can manage the levels of meat they are producing. The farm also has its own in-house master butcher. ‘Trevor Hennessey prepares all the meats for us in the way the kitchen wants it and supplies it to the chefs at the Roslin. We can now cover their needs with the meats we produce and the chefs tailor their menus to work well with our produce.’
Keith continues: ‘Not only is the provenance of our meat and welfare of our animals important, having our own farm is also a cost saving for the hotel as we cut out the middle man. We buy in the cattle at six months old and then grow them on until about 28 months old.’
The farm is now able to supply the 62-bedroom seaside retreat with all of its meat – from farm gate to plate. And, for the first time, over Christmas 2013 hotel guests were also able to order their very own fresh Roslin turkeys too. Now you wouldn’t expect that from a seaside hotel.