Executive Chef Charles Mooyaart on his food passions and vision for the farm

We had a chat with Charles to discuss his food passions and his vision for Five Acre Farm, Tobacco Factory and Grain Barge…

“Having our own farm and small-holding creates a completely different environment for planning menus. Everything we plant has different growing times, so we make our dishes based around what’s in season at the farm. We only get what’s growing at that moment, which on the one hand is limiting, but on the other means we need to be more creative with what we have. Having gone to the effort of growing our own, so we want to show it off to our customers!

Now we know the basics, in years to come there will be a bit more fine-tuning, balancing things in terms of what and how much we’re growing and how we can best utilise our produce. We’ll try and achieve more variety on the farm going with the flow of the seasons. It’s so nice and refreshing to be at the farm, everything about it just feels right – we’ve become part of the local community, and the possibilities are endless.

I believe the farm-to-fork movement is gathering momentum in Bristol thanks to consumers wanting to be kinder to the planet. People are more aware of their carbon footprint and the impact of imported food. The demand is there from customers for restaurants that champion local produce, which has had a positive impact.

While this all may sound terribly idyllic, the farm-to-fork approach is not without its challenges. We have put so much hard work into it and I am so proud of everybody involved; from staff being knee deep in mud picking tomatoes to the chefs doing huge amounts of prep with the ingredients thrown at them.

It’s challenging being at the mercy of mother nature, but putting restrictions on ourselves in terms of what we grow serves to promote creativity and forces us to make the most of what we have.”