We made the most of the last day of Mr C's Chrsitmas holidays today to take Little Miss C along to Home Farm at the National Trust's Wimpole Estate. It is somewhere that we have visited several times before and LMC loved all the animals that she visited on the farm. On this visit she was also old enough (and mobile enough) to make the most of the ride on tractors and also all the playground facilities. For her it was a perfect day out.
We enjoyed the farm visit as much as she did, but there was unfortunately one bit of our visit that left us feeling let down. We chose to eat lunch at the "Farm Kitchen" as it was close to all of the things that we were doing whilst there. There was only a limited menu available (despite it being a busy Bank Holiday) and we also only saw two staff memebers in the 30 minutes or so that we were there. OK, the National Trust is a charity and one which relies on volunteers quite a bit, so we accepted that this may have been the reason for the limited service.
The thing that really annoyed us though was the amount of waste that our meal generated. There was a sign on the service counter stating that they unfortunately were using disposable cutlery today. No reason was given for this, but I assume it may have been due to a lack of staff. In other National Trust restaurants that we have visited there has been lots of evidence of them recycling everything possible, but there was sadly no evidence of this at Wimpole today. The cutlery and cardboard tea cup weren't our only problems though. Mr C decided to have a jacket potato with cheese and tuna – both of which came in separate plastic posts (with lids). LMC had the children's meal which included a bread roll, ham, raisins and a carton of apple juice. The bread roll came in a plastic bag, the ham and raisins both in plastic pots with lids.
In all the years that I've been a National Trust member they have always seemed very keen on minimising the environmental impact of their business. Many of the estates run as a mini-economy with fruit and veg grown on site being used in the cafes and restaurants. I've seen lots of evidence of waste being recycled and reused as well. All this seemed to be missing today and its absence really surprised us.
I will be writing to the National Trust's Wimpole Estate and asking them why the meals were served in such a wasteful manner today. As long as they have no objection, I will share their response with you here.