Welcome to the Fera Five, an interview series where we get to ask our favourite people the same five questions. For our second in the series we have Harry and Sam, the founders of Shrub.
They founded Shrub to supply the UK’s finest, most ethical fruit and veg to the restaurant industry. Working with small and high quality growers, they are creating a world where chefs and restaurants have a re-established and transparent relationship with the producers of their ingredients. A relationship that cares about our health, natural world and local economies. Unsurprisingly, they also have some tales of great outdoor adventures, including one to the Amazon.
What’s your favourite outdoor activity?
We’re both avid outdoor enthusiasts so literally anything, usually as long as there is a pub at the end. This includes walking to the pub…But if you were to pin us down, Sam loves a stiff hike anywhere beautiful and Harry is a keen flyfisher, though neither of us have had much time for either, lately!
Our love of the outdoors was our main inspiration for starting Shrub and we’re so lucky that we get to spend so much time in beautiful places around the south-east.
Which is the best pub in Britain?
For us to categorically state which pub is our FAVOURITE might land us in some hot water with some of our customers! Not only that but there is so much choice…We supply many of them in London and Sussex and as a general rule, if they’re taking the time to work with a slightly more enlightened supplier such as Shrub, it's an indication of quality.
We’d also choose a different pub for a boozer and a different pub for Sunday lunch or date night with the partner. As you suggested, how a Guinness comes is also a litmus as would judging the lines of any cask cask ales on…Pints are so incredibly expensive at the moment that that’s a factor too so we’re far more cask led these days. Particularly keen on a Harveys Best.
We don’t want to be total cop-outs…We’re not sure the perfect pub exists but here are some bloody great options: The Chimney House, Brighton. The Ginger Fox, Hassocks. Slam Taco’s, Hove. The Urchin, Hove. The Foghorn, Portslade. The Earth and Stars, Brighton. Alberta’s (the Windmill) , Brighton. The Pough, Rye. The Union, Rye. The Royal, St. Leonards. The Plimsoll, Highbury. The Camberwell Arms, Camberwell. Lore of the Land, Fitz. The Pigs Head, Clapham. The Price Arthur, Homerton. The Marksman, Bethnal Green. The Harwood Arms, Fulham. The Culpeper, Buxton.
What’s the one film or book about the great outdoors you would recommend?
Hunt for the Wilderpeople has been pretty unanimous for best outdoor flick. Growing up though there were some greats. The River Runs Through It, Last of the Mohicans, Dances with Wolves, White Fang, Deliverance, Deer Hunter. We love movies….
We must get back into some real paper books. After being on the road so much we’ve become too used to downloading audiobooks. Harry’s all time favourite outdoor book is his well thumbed signed copy of Ray Mears' Bushcraft. Sam's is James Rebank's English Pastoral.
What’s the most memorable outdoor adventure or experience you’ve had?
Sam: A few years ago me and a couple of mates did a road/camping trip through Northern Spain and Portugal. We were barbecuing steaks over fire in Basque Country in the middle of nowhere, with a sunrise through the open van door to look forward to. Had nothing else on and looking back at that now I’d love to go back and do exactly the same thing all over again….
Harry: Not long after finishing school I used to do a bit of filming for a really cool mini-cams company. I wanted to be the next Bruce Parry and was on a trajectory to becoming a cameraman. Got on lots of cool jobs, mostly because I worked for free and had good contacts but one day while working at my local pub in West Berkshire I got the call…I needed to be in the centre of the Amazon rainforest with £100k worth of kit within 48 hours. 3 planes later, the last of which was more of a kite, a Ford Bronco, and a 3am local time rendezvous in one of the most remote places on the planet I was there. It was a bit of a blast and I sometimes have to remind myself that wasn’t all one big dream.
What would be the perfect Fera collaboration?
Well, we hope Fera is going to do some clobber for Shrub! But the possibilities are surely endless. Niwaki is a very cool tool and horticulture company. A stylish but tough jacket not unlike your vests currently but for the horticulturist…or even a good toolbag! Chefs would certainly repurpose it for their knife rolls too. #sendthecheque