By Sarah Watts-Jones, co-owner of Hare & Hounds Group: Heathcock in Cardiff, Hare & Hounds, Aberthin, Hare & Hounds Bakery, Cowbridge, and The Clifton, Bristol.
“Our pub in Cardiff (Heathcock) is a thriving local watering hole that has been part of the community for over 100 years; we serve great ales, interesting wines, homemade seasonal drinks and delicious bar snacks.
Alongside the bar, we offer a daily changing, seasonal menu in our dining rooms. We use the very best local produce that the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff has to offer – we have some of the most productive soil in the UK in the Vale; this gives us meat, vegetables and game of the highest quality. Our kitchen garden, and our smallholding also provide us with homegrown fruit and vegetables which are incorporated into our menus at Heathcock, and at our original pub Hare & Hounds, as well as at The Clifton.
Locality and seasonality are key to us, and each menu reflects the best of the day’s local produce; our menus all change twice a day with the seasons. Sharing dishes are a big part of the joy of eating with us; from hearty pies, to slow cooked Welsh lamb shoulders or whole Welsh baked seabass. Everything is made from scratch in our kitchen, from our own sourdough bread and cultured butter, to fresh pasta. We try to keep our carbon footprint low, via our use of local suppliers and farmers, and by only buying produce when it is in season.
It is not just with the food that we try to be sustainable and minimise waste. We’re big on recycling – but reducing the amount of waste we create in the first place is also exceptionally important to us. Each business has limited general waste bins – then glass bins, mixed recycling bins and food waste bins; we are lucky also to have our smallholding in the Vale, behind Hare & Hounds, as we are able to send our used coffee grounds and food waste up to our composting system – so very little goes to waste.
Separating our waste for recycling forces the staff to think about what they’re putting where.
We also bulk buy wherever we can – whether that’s nuts for the pubs or crisps for the bakery, it all helps to limit our reliance on single use plastics. We source all of our shampoos, soaps etc in our B&B from Fill (a sustainable refill brand) which means there’s no single use plastic, no wastage and our guests use only what they actually need. We’re currently looking into getting zero-waste, EHO approved cleaning products in our pub kitchens so that we can continue that approach right through the business.
As a business, sustainability, locality, and the planet are so important to us; our aim is always to do minimal damage to the environment around us and we are always striving to do more wherever we can.”