New Guild member Jenny Jefferies is an author, farmer’s wife and mother of two girls, and a member of the Guild of Food Writers, which neatly introduces the subject of her two cook books – British food.
“I wanted to join the Guild because I am so passionate about British farming and its produce,” says Jenny. “I want to help spread the message about sustainability, regenerative agriculture, food provenance and community spirit. To buy local, to buy seasonally, to buy sustainably and, above all, to buy British.
“As a ‘Food Hero’ with Love British Food and a member of the Guild of Food Writers, I hope to engage, observe and deliver with like-minded company and to help celebrate British agriculture.”
Her debut title For the Love of the Land is a cook book celebrating British farmers and their food, with dishes making the most of local and seasonal ingredients to create delicious meals, puddings and bakes. Alongside, farming families tell the stories of their livelihoods: from losing sheep in snowstorms to stoking enthusiasm in the next generation; it won Woman & Home’s Best Cookbook 2021 award and was a Best Cook Book finalist in the Great British Food Awards 2021.
Recipes include Blackbrook Beef Bolognese from a traditional lowland farm in Leicestershire, Reestit Mutton Soup by two sisters who run their family farm on Shetland, and Pheasant and Asparagus Bake from a family-run game shoot in Cambridgeshire. Kentish Lavender Shortbread and a cocktail featuring fresh edible flowers also feature.
“As the landscape of British farming changes, we need to support high-quality food production and understand how farmers can work in harmony with nature to make our eating habits more sustainable,” says Jenny, whose second book, also from Meze Publishing, continues the theme but with fish and seafood.
For The Love of the Sea highlights the hard work and dedication of the men and women who work in the British fishing industry, as well as those who support them such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and features professional sailors, fishmongers, fishermen and women, marine conservationists, chefs and suppliers – along with more than 40 recipes.
Describe your work in a sentence
I support British farmers and fishermen from having compiled two books celebrating British harvest; I am currently compiling two sequels.
How did you get to where you are today?
From falling in love with my arable farming husband and becoming a farmer’s wife and then a mother to two young daughters.
Did you always want to be an author?
I had no vision or dream about becoming an author until I witnessed my first ever harvest in the summer of 2013. From then on, I felt committed to spreading the message to buy local, buy seasonal, buy sustainably and above all to buy British.
Describe an average day
My top priority is looking after and bringing up my children. No day is the same; I have many articles to complete, zoom meetings, networking events, social media to engage with, along with my part-time job, which is marketing our seven self-catering cottages on our family-run farm and private airfield. I often speak with local businesses and look for ways in which we can collaborate and support each other.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Meeting and talking with really lovely and interesting people.
Where’s the most interesting place you’ve visited as part of your job?
The family farm where I live now – it ignited a passion for British produce and highlighted my ignorance of food provenance. I am now committed to helping educate and inform people about where their food comes from and to help bridge the gap between town and country, food and technology and to help highlight the producer/consumer story.
What gets you through a tough day?
Love; family and friendship. Sometimes a glass of wine and some Kettle chips…
How untidy is your desk?
My desk is very neat and tidy. Everything has its place. The secret is not to have too much stuff.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
I love Pink Floyd.
Jenny in 30 seconds:
What station is your car radio tuned to?
A local radio station called Black Cat Radio where my husband and I are featured monthly on their Breakfast Show.
What’s your favourite biscuit?
Name a guilty pleasure
There’s no such thing…
What colour are your wellies?
Where did you last go on holiday?
Camping with the family in Suffolk.
All members can be contacted through the Guild’s Farming Media Centre online directory; click Directory on the menu above.