Updated: May 31
Photo from Harts Bakery website
We'd argue that in this current bizarre situation that it's crucial, where possible, to put your hard earned money back into the local independents of Bristol who need it more than ever. They work hard to not only deliver great food, but so many of them do it in as sustainable way as possible. We want to do our part to help out and ensure as much as we can that they are still around for us whenever things get a bit more normal...
You gotta know about Poco on Jamaica Street, and if you don't, we're here to enlighten you! They're serious champions of sustainability, on a mission to 'not only be Bristol's best restaurant, but also to be at the forefront of the sustainable movement nationally and internationally'. They work with a number of producers, such as lovely folk like Patrick Mallery who grows mushrooms just a few miles from the restauant. Patrick loves supplying Poco and supporting their mission, highlighting that “it’s tough to get people to realise what it takes to have local food, and understand the difference between industrially grown mushrooms and ecologically or sustainably grown mushrooms.”
Their food is absolutely delicious as well as sustainable, and during these uncertain times, they're doing a no contact Click&Collect service and they've even got a limited menu on UberEats! Woohoo!
Main blog photo from Poco's website
Heather and Mel, the superbly talented and hardworking founders of Gopal's, source their food as locally as they possibly can. Not only that, all of their packaging is compostable and biodegradable. On our food tours, the food that Heather, Mel and their team serve up is often raved about as one of the absolute highlights of the tour. Their chickpea chaat is a perfect combination of fresh, spicy, Indian deliciousness. Everything they make is 100% vegan, 100% satisfying and absolutely packed with flavour. We can't wait until Gopal's Curry Shack is open for service again... there's a definite hankering for fresh vegan curry vibes from these ladies!
Bristol is home to scores of independent restaurants, cafes and shops who have built strong relationships with local farmers and individual producers. Joe Wheatcroft from Source in St Nick's Market - a fab interactive stop-off on our East to West tour - says that local shops like Source enjoy being a link between the producer and the customer. He explains that "local food is really good because it cuts down on food miles, there's less pollution in transportation; it creates jobs in our community and keeps money in our local economy".
At Source, they buy their meat directly from local farms, buying whole animals where possible and butchering in store for retail sales and for the kitchen in their cafe. They also buy a lot of their cheese directly from local farms which means the cheesemakers can get valuable feedback from Joe and Source's customers. It's great that customers can get to know where their food is coming from.
Source is currently open for business, via online ordering.
The teams behind these three stalwarts of the Bristol independent community have a firm focus on sustainability and seasonality. Sourcing their ingredients for their ever-changing menus from local producers as much as possible, they take deliciousness seriously and always work towards the Slow Food philosophy of “good, clean and fair”.
They're still feeding Bristol while they're closed, with a seasonal pizza menu available trough UberEats, which includes a range of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. They champion healthy eating with plenty of plant based options, always using the freshest local produce. They can even tell you the name of their fisherman who catches the fish they served! For more information on all their sourcing efforts, check out their policy here. They've also won a bunch of awards including two Bristol Good Food Awards for Best Gluten Free and Best Supporter of local produce.
We were very excited when we heard that Hart's are open for business via an online shop where customers can pre-order and collect all kinds of baked deliciousness. Like many Bristol businesses, they have a commitment to sustainability. For their breads and pastries, they've been using flour from local Shipton Mill, and more recently they've invented an innovative way of storing milk which has meant that they have gone from using 7,500 plastic bottles of milk to using none at all. The milk is from Bruton Dairy in Somerset, which is delivered in large metal churns. The bakery's Pete Young who used to be an engineer at Dyson has invented an ingenious system where milk is connected directly to their coffee machine, thereby reducing waste.
Thanks for reading!
There are so many businesses we could mention in a post about sustainability that it would be impossible to name them all! In our next post, we're going to highlight some of Bristol's great markets, as it's looking hopeful that outdoor markets will be able to open soon. We'll be so glad to see the markets of Corn Street, Whiteladies Road, the Tobacco factory and hopefully the Harbourside Market return over the summer. Fingers crossed, everyone!
In the mean time, keep up to speed with who's doing what on our Instagram.