With distances measured in footsteps rather than miles, Trevaskis Farm’s foodie credentials are top of the crops.
Words by Hannah Tapping
Trevaskis Farm has been feeding visitors for more than 40 years. Much has changed on the farm since the early days, but what has always remained is the passion and foresight that business owner Giles Eustice has for this 28-acre farm. Giles is a Cornishman and his family, like so many others who are guardians of Cornwall’s fertile land, started by growing traditional crops alongside keeping a small herd of beef cattle. A hard winter sowed the seed of an idea that Giles’ father took forward in the late 1970s, which was to plant strawberries and Trevaskis soon became the go-to for ‘pick-your-own’. Its success was such that Giles’ mum opened a small café-come-restaurant which became a hit with locals and visitors alike. Famed for its hearty portions and impressive dessert counter, the restaurant broke new ground in terms of its offering, with nothing quite like it elsewhere in the Duchy.
Fast forward some four decades and the restaurant, now grown in size with state-of-the-art kitchens, sees a team of up to 15 chefs working during a busy lunch or dinner service. Laurels are something Giles doesn’t believe in resting on and just before we speak, he has been sitting down with his chefs developing new menus for the season ahead: “We are constantly looking to do things better and enhance what we offer. While we have been doing what we do for 40 plus years, we have never stood still.” There has been a focus over the winter months on a more refined set menu which has been hugely well-received by diners, with the restaurant seating over 200 covers on a November evening – numbers that are the envy of others in the trade. So, what’s the secret of this success? “It’s because our customers buy into the concept of a finer dining menu with a great price point,” explains Giles. “Our shoulder season set menus have certainly drawn a crowd and the place has been buzzing.”
Trevaskis pays a premium to local Cornish farms for native south Devon breed beef which is always on the menu alongside their own rare-breed British Lop pork which is raised on the farm. Seasonal vegetables, freshly picked from the surrounding fields grace the plates in a fusion of colour. “We have always been known for using the very best ingredients – the quality of the produce, the quality of the meat and animal welfare has always been a top priority for us. However, we are now taking a reverse look at all of the dishes. Whether it’s one of our ever-popular steak and onion pies or our famed roast menu, we will be ensuring that the food not only tastes good but looks good too.”
With a loyal customer following, from diners who have been visiting for decades and young professionals who appreciate the provenance, to a new set of discerning Generation-Z clientele, finessing the finer details will be the icing on the cake. “It’s a difficult time for people financially and for us as a business because we’re all suffering huge increases in costs,” says Giles. “This is why we have to make sure that everything we do is done well, as people are going to choose to spend their hard-earned money wisely. This will happen from the top down, even as far as having new crockery which has been specially designed to encompass the whole farm to plate experience. Diners will be seeing an enhanced, top-notch plate offering with great provenance, great quality of product and plenty of it!”
Building on the success of the winter and spring set menus, these will now continue throughout the year. Changing seasonally on a bi-monthly basis, these will run alongside the existing menus, meaning there will be something for every taste. Fear not, if you are a Trevaskis devotee, family classics such as pies, burgers, roasts and children’s dishes, and of course the dessert counter, will remain as well as the warm welcome diners always receive from Team Trevaskis.
However, it’s not just the restaurant that draws a crowd, the farm’s pick-your-own offering remains hugely popular. Alongside the ubiquitous strawberry, grown on raised beds so you needn’t stoop to fill your basket, Giles has seen resurgence in interest for a wider variety of soft fruit crops such as raspberries, gooseberries, loganberries tayberries, tumbleberries, black and redcurrants and blackberries. “The tabletop picking environment is being enhanced for the new season,” adds Giles “and we will also be undertaking growing trials on a whole selection of new strawberry varieties. We’ve previously steered away from getting too caught up in some of those varieties which, while they might produce a shiny, heavy strawberry that has a great shelf life and so works for a supermarket, the taste isn’t perhaps as good. Our new varieties will be grown primarily for taste but also to give us a little bit more longevity in the season.” The farm’s vegetable produce not only supplies the restaurant, but also The Market. Stocking over 5000 plus different product lines, this is so much more than a farm shop. With a bakery, fishmonger and butchery, the offering is stronger than ever and still absolutely true to Trevaskis’ roots and values in terms of stocking the best product. Moving with the times and tastes, a large new free-from section has been introduced, which is echoed in a vegan, dairy and gluten-free set menu available in the restaurant. Whatever your reason for visiting Trevaskis, you are ensured of a culinary experience that is kind to the planet, easy on the eye and sweet to the taste.