Can you tell us a bit about you and how you met Henry?
I’m Libby, and I guess you could say I’m the food half of Field Food. Henry, my partner, is the front of house.
Food seems a sensible place to start when sharing a little something about me. You’ll often find me in the kitchen and I’m at my happiest when cooking for family or sharing a recipe with friends.
My passion for cooking and growing food has been there throughout my life, but it wasn’t until I was recovering from heart surgery in 2014 that I started to explore the healing powers that it holds. At that time food switched from just being a source of joy, to also being a necessity for rebuilding my health and strength. I was fascinated by what I was learning and joined the College of Naturopathic Nutrition to study biomedicine and naturopathic nutrition.
For me, nutrition is one element of being happy and healthy but it’s also about community and laughter, and sharing a meal with others - we bring all of this together in our feasts.
When it comes to how Henry and I met, it certainly wasn’t over a nourishing meal and probiotic cocktail.. I think I spilt a cheap drink over him on a night out at University but that’s a story for another time!
What do you enjoy most about working as a nutritionist?
Working as a nutritionist has enabled me to bring all of my passions together and use my skills to help people to feel better. I love being able to simplify complex nutritional information to make it accessible for people, helping them to feel empowered in their food choices and equipped to make nourishing food at home.
The thing that I get most pleasure from is helping people to find enjoyment in food. So often my clients come to me on restrictive diets, calorie counting or feeling guilty about what they eat and they’ve lost the simple pleasure of enjoying a meal. My belief is that food should be equal parts nourishing and delicious - if you start with simple, good quality ingredients and a few basic cooking skills then you can’t go far wrong.
What does Autumn/Winter hold for you both?
Autumn sees us moving Field Food into its new permanent home - a beautiful flint barn in the heart of the South Downs. It’s on a farm that is championing regenerative farming with an edible agroforest, bee hives and herbal tea garden. It’s also surrounded by the farms that supply us with incredible produce.
We really hope that the barn can become a hub for people who are looking to find health and happiness through community, shared meals, delicious nourishing food and supporting great farming practices.
This Autumn we’re hosting a series of community walks in the beautiful countryside around Lewes, often ending up at our barn for a shared lunch. The first walk is on 23rd October.
We’re also excited for our big feast of the season on 12th November where we’ll showcase the best seasonal, regenerative produce that Sussex has to offer through three courses of delicious, laid-back food, organic wines and probiotic cocktails.
What can people expect from joining one of your feasts?
Our feasts are welcoming and relaxed. We pull up a big table in the middle of our flint barn where we all gather together. Depending on the time of year there might be fresh flowers or candles along the table, and a big blackboard hangs on the wall with the menu and details of where the food is from.
You can expect big plates of delicious food made for sharing and celebrating. The menus are designed around what is abundant at that time of year, capturing flavours at their peak. In the summer it will be vibrant salads and fresh dishes, whilst in the autumn and winter the food will be hearty and warming.
Everything is local and seasonal, grown and prepared by people who respect the natural world and our place within it.
Why is it so important that you work with local farmers and growers?
This really is at the heart of everything we do, it’s a fundamental value of ours. We believe that eating locally and seasonally is the most nutritious way of eating; food is fresher, it tastes better, and it helps us to feel a deeper connection with both our food and our environment.
We choose to work with farmers and growers who are using organic and biodynamic farming methods, regenerating our soil and environment. We want to live in a place with healthy soil and air, with diverse wildlife and a thriving ecosystem, and so we need to support the people who are working so hard to do this in our community.
Sourcing food locally means that we can visit the farms and see where food is being grown and raised, and build relationships with our suppliers. It’s just a really enjoyable way of working too!
When you know where your food has come from and you know the people who have grown it you value it and take more care of it.
What do you love most about working together?
Henry and I have worked on a few different projects together since we met - some have worked out better than others - but Field Food is by far the most fun and enjoyable. We’re both in our happy places. I love sourcing ingredients, designing menus and cooking, and Henry loves chatting to people, telling stories and hosting. When you’re having fun at work beautiful things happen and you end up creating something unique. It works so well because we have amazing people that work with us and join us for our feasts - they share our passion for non-fussy, local, organic, happy food.
Can you describe and give tips on the best places to eat, drink, source ingredients in your local neighbourhood?
Sussex is becoming a real hub of amazing regenerative and organic growers, producers and farmers, we’re so lucky. Our goal is to work with as many as possible and share their details with our community so that they can get hold of the best quality food to use at home too. For our Autumn and Christmas feasts we’re going to be getting supplies from….
Our vegetables are from Barcombe Nurseries and Ashurst Organics who both run incredible veg box schemes. We’ll also get some of our veggies from My Little Farm - a members small-holding just a few miles from where we live.
Our meat is from Jacobs Ladder, and raw milk, butter and cheese from Plaw Hatch Farm and Tablehurst Farm, both in Forest Row.
Our newest supplier is Wild Farmed who provide us with flour for our breads and bakes - although not in Sussex, they are doing incredible work to rebuild soil health across the UK using a pasture cropping system.
And drinks-wise, we’ll have organic wines from Tillingham, beers from Beak Brewery, and probiotic cocktails using Old Tree Brewery kombucha. Our coffee is freshly roasted in Lewes by Tigermoth, where you can stop in for a coffee.
The Sussex Peasant is a mobile farm shop with spots across Sussex, bringing together the best of Sussex’s organic fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and bread. It’s a really fun way to do your shopping.