Over the years we’ve been featured in many national TV programmes and local newspapers, magazines etc… below are some examples.
With Heston Blumenthal
A few years ago Heston Blumenthal chose Clerkes Geese as the finest tasting free-range geese in the country, in a blind taste test. Our goose featured as the main course in Heston’s Christmas feast in his BBC One Christmas special ‘Heston’s Christmas Feast’. Heston spent time on the farm, with Simon and the geese, and prepared a special diet for a select few to be fed on, in an experiment to see if he could flavour the meat. Ten geese were fed on a diet essence of Douglas Fir Pine, fruit and sage and onion stuffing, all held together by a secret ingredient syrup, mixed in with their normal wheat-based diet. As Heston said ‘This is the first 3 Michelin starred goose food’. I tried some and it wasn’t that good.
With Brian Turner & Janet Street-Porter
Last summer Simon was on BBC One’s ‘A Taste of Britain’ with chef Brian Turner and broadcaster Janet Street-Porter. The BBC approached Simon at the beginning of the year as they were interested in finding a producer of free-range Guinea Fowl to feature on the show. Most of the UK’s Guinea Fowl are imported from France so they were keen to sample some of our British reared birds. Morph, a prize specimen of a Jack Russell and a key player on the farm’s staff, also featured in several of the shots and is very pleased he’s gaining national recognition on television.
For Christmas 2011, Simon was invited to appear as a judge on the cookery show ‘Perfect Christmas’ for the Good Food channel. Simon, with Paul Kelly snr and jnr, of Kelly’s Turkey’s, were invited to judge two different 3-course Christmas dinners and select their favourite version. Simon, the goose farmer, voted the goose as the best. Mr & Mr Kelly, turkey farmers, voted for the turkey. They were wrong.
In 2008 Simon appeared on Hairy Bikers but the director edited all his jokes and witticisms out of the final cut so he does not like to talk about it.
Simon has also been on the radio many times talking about birds – BBC Essex, Radio Essex, BBC Cambridgeshire, XFM and Radio 4 have all wanted interviews with a poultry farmer, quotes and facts in the past. Simon soon realised that his off the cuff jokes do not go down so well with Radio presenters if they have not been forewarned.
Simon Hughes of of Great Clerkes Farm Foods has had numerous articles published in the past in publications such as Essex Life Mag, Herts & Essex Observer & Essex Gourmet.
Here is an excerpt from a new cookbook, due to be published soon, called Essex Feast:-
Duck is rarely off the menu at The Green Man, the pub-restaurant in Lindsell, near Dunmow, that Richard has run since spring 2014 with business partners Scott Reid and Chris Turnell, who is also restaurant manager. It might appear on the tapas menu as in a confit duck and foie gras terrine served with brioche and a plum and apple chutney, or as a smoked duck starter, or as ‘duck and waffle’. “For that dish, the duck is marinated in five spice, then we confit the leg, and it’s served crisped up with a homemade waffle, mustard maple syrup and a fried egg. It goes down very well!”
He’s keen to head down to Great Clerkes Farm in the north Essex village of Little Sampford, just minutes from The Green Man. Simon Hughes is in charge, the third generation to rear free-range ducks and other poultry on the farm. “We produce over 5,000 ducks and geese across both of our busiest Easter and Christmas periods,” he says “All our birds are reared here free-range from day-old chicks and we look after every aspect of their lives to ensure the highest welfare standards. There are a couple of ponds and the birds can literally roam wherever they like.” It’s an attractive sight, his Aylesbury-cross ducks wandering happily around the farmyard, each one a pristine white contrast to the black barns and rolling green pastures which surround the farm. They are fed on homegrown wheat supplemented by special duck pellets made from Marriages wheat.
Despite his love of ducks, this is Richard’s first time holding one. Naturally wary, they bid a hasty retreat on our arrival until one of the Feast crew added duck-wrangling to his list of skills, and Richard found himself face to beak with a beautiful white bird with Simon’s terrier, Morph, insisting on being part of the picture too.