Farming Matters: Pub adds that little bit egg..tra

James Penlington, landlord of The Bell in Stoke Mandeville.

James Penlington, landlord of The Bell in Stoke Mandeville.

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The Bell in Stoke Mandeville opened less than a year ago, with the new owner James Penlington full of enthusiasm and ideas.

He allows parents from the nearby junior school to park their cars at drop off and pick up times, and welcomes dogs, children and muddy boots into his 
pub.

And as I can personally testify, his chef is brilliant, the portions are very generous and the food delicious.

Now James intends to get half a dozen hens to live in the grassy paddock at the bottom of the car park because he believes passionately in food provenance.

He said: “It’s not that long ago, but when I was young I remember the experience of walking past the town abattoir and visiting the butchers. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but there was a real understanding of where our food came from and how important these animals, and their welfare, are.

“We’ll introduce six birds to the site which will add some colour, interest and activity to the paddock beyond the car park and they’ll be kept as layers first. Obviously the eggs won’t supply the needs of our busy kitchen but it’s a start.”

James has received lots of support and advice from the owners of Rent a Hen at Mill House Farm on Risborough Road in Stoke Mandeville. Currently he buys day fresh eggs from them and he is hopeful they will supply the six birds too.

The poultry will arrive soon and everyone at The Bell will take a hand in looking after them.

The talk at the bar now is about names, and James welcomes any good suggestions from Herald readers, so drop me a line at my email address and I’ll pass your ideas on to him.