Porridge for breakfast isn’t unusual in our house and it’s been Aiden’s favourite breakfast since we started weaning him, so it has the toddler seal of approval. Since oats are a cupboard staple for us, it was wonderful to be invited last month by White’s Oats to Abbey Home Farm down in the beautiful Cotswolds to meet one of their organic farm partners.
I’ve worked with a lot of companies and brands over the years, but I rarely get to know the people behind the brand or get to see how the products are made. Of course, I jumped at this rare chance to experience an exciting day with their team to meet one of their growers and find out more about the heart of the brand and the journey of the oat from the field to my breakfast bowl.
To tell you a bit about White’s Oats, they have a strong history dating back to 1841, when Thomas H. White started the brand in Nothern Ireland. Even though the White family parted ways with the brand in 1977, that family heritage is still very much at the core of everything that White’s does and has become the only porridge and oat based cereal provider to be sold in Northern Ireland to date, which is seriously impressive. Also, White’s milling process is highly unique and it provides the oats with a distinct nutty texture and creamy taste, which has resulted in them winning numerous Great Taste Awards from the Guild of Fine Food over the years. I love a brand that has such a strong heritage because it shows a longstanding passion, that they are experts in their field and, dedicated to developing high-quality products.
On the day, we were treated to a feast of organic oaty goodness for brunch made from White’s Oats and seasonal produce. There was a beautiful yoghurt and strawberry parfait that was topped with granola and the most delicious chocolate snack balls made with oats. It was a great chance to meet the team, talk about the products, an introduction to White’s Oats Organic Growing Group and to find out about more about the brand.
There is so much that I never knew about growing oats as well as the incredible effort required. We were taken on a walk around the farm and got to meet White’s head of agronomy, Raymond Hilman, who is responsible for assessing the growth habits of the different oat crops. Excitingly, during my visit, they were evaluating the growth of 8 different types of oats planted in a trial. These trials form an important part of White’s research to ensure that they only grow the best varieties and yield the best quantity and quality. This helps them to develop the best-tasting porridge to meet the needs of their consumers.
I think a lot can be said about knowing where your food comes from and I’m truly grateful to have had this opportunity to see how oats are grown and see them in situ before they make it into a packet. I will now never look at a bowl of porridge in the same way ever again and really appreciate the amount of time and effort that is involved in growing an amazing crop of oats each year. An oat is never just an oat because it requires a bountiful amount of passion, time and dedication for it reach your breakfast bowl.
*This post was commissioned by White’s Oat’s, but all opinions are my own.
**Images courtesy of Organic Arable and White’s Oats.