by Safia Minney, with Emma Watson, Vivienne Westwood, Orla Kiely and many more…
Posts Tagged ‘jo wood organics’
When people start talking about Wimbledon, I must be one of the few whose mind skips from tennis – straight on to Jo Wood and Arthur Potts Dawson and their joint venture not far from Wimbledon. Mrs Paisley’s Lashings pop-up organic restaurant which People Tree Ambassador Jo Wood runs to spread awareness of organic foods and to raise money to educate children by starting organic vegetable gardens in schools.
Jo Wood wears many hats, of course: she runs her own Organic Beauty brand ‘Jo Wood Organics’, is Agony Aunt for You Magazine, is an accomplished dancer, and devotes all her leftover strength to promoting organic, sustainable and healthy lifestyles. She has a great team, too!
When I first met Arthur, the passionate chef behind Mrs P’s, he told me his whole family wear People Tree! Acorn House, where he is head chef full time, he very generously called “the same concept” as People Tree. He tells me at length about the integrity of the materials, and the relationships with growers and producers.
Jo’s pop-up restaurant was open for ten days, and I caught up with her between courses when I visited last week:
Saf: I eat organic every day, but this tastes so good – are you putting something into the air to make everything taste so amazing?
Jo (laughs): That’s because the lettuce was picked only 30 minutes ago, and the broad beans only 2 hours ago. A lot is from my garden, so it’s very fresh.
Saf: What’s the Gardens in Schools scheme all about? What’s the grand plan?
Jo: Children need to be educated about food and how to cook. They can cook simply and they won’t want takeaways. It’s terribly that today there are no cookery classes at school. I used to come home with a cake tin with Welsh Rarebit, or cakes, from my cookery classes when I was at school.
Saf: What if young people say they can’t be bothered?
Jo: They won’t be saying that in 20 years’ time. They can learn to throw something healthy together in 5 minutes. What we spend on takeaways, we could spend on buying organic food.
Saf: What would you want David Cameron and Nick Clegg to do?
Jo: It’s all about the health of the people. If we clean up the food, the land and the rivers by growing organically, without chemicals, it would be so healthy for the people.
Jo and I chat about upcoming People Tree projects and campaigns, and have a bit of a gossip too. What I love about Jo is that she’s so real. Down to earth and fun.
But I’ve left James, my husband, between courses, so I dart back to the middle course, after a chilled asparagus soup and a salad with broad beans mashed to a puree on toast. He’s looking a little forlorn, but pretends the main course had arrived just moments before – pasta with mushroom and basilica, and then a bigger plate of vegetables the asparagus tingling with lemon. Finally, lemon tart and cream, and an espresso. OMG – I was sated after the third course but on I went, eating more and more. I never eat dinner out, perhaps once every 2 months, so this feels like a Birthday and Christmas treat rolled into one. I’m so happy and contented, the first ‘date’ I’ve had with my husband for a year! I’m luxuriating!
It was half term last week and my kids were at home– so I was feeling super-guilty that they were fixing their own dinner while I’m feasting. Then there was a text from my daughter that they’ve run out of toilet paper. It’s 11:30 at night. I know Jo would giggle and tell me to help myself, but it’s not the thing to ask in front of Yasmin le Bon, so we stoped at the 24-hour store on the way home. As I waved goodbye to Jo on the front steps of her home, she says “There’s been a massacre here tonight. The fox got in and killed four hens.” She tries to look cheerful but you can see she’s a little sad.
Life is a rich mix. Thanks for an amazing dinner and evening, Jo and Arthur!
If you fancy a slice of Mrs Paisley’s Lashings you can catch them next at Harvest at Jimmy’s Festival in September .