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Norwich pub welcomes chickens

PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:20 01 July 2010

David Bale

There's a new pecking order at a Norwich pub which has introduced chickens into its garden and is improving its green credentials with a vegetable plot providing ultra-fresh produce for diners.

There's a new pecking order at a Norwich pub which has introduced chickens into its garden and is improving its green credentials with a vegetable plot providing ultra-fresh produce for diners.

The RiverGarden Pub on Yarmouth Road in Thorpe St Andrew has six new members of staff - Edith, Gracie, Matilda, Little Blue, Ellie and Olivia - chickens who have been named by competition-winning customers.

In addition to providing free-range eggs which are used in the kitchen by head chef Keith Evans in dishes such as local asparagus with crispy boiled eggs, butter sauce and soldiers, the chickens have proved to be extremely popular with young visitors to the pub.

“We held a competition to name the chickens, and some of the children who named chickens insist on coming back to see how 'their' chicken is getting on!” laughed RiverGarden owner Jon Bingham, 28.

“It was really important to us that we looked at our carbon footprint and tried to lessen it. The local community is very important to us and we want to do everything we can to be green.”

The RiverGarden Pub was purpose-built as a watering hole in 1650 and is famed for its garden which sits on the bank of the River Yare, offering three mooring sites for visiting boats.

“This is a beautiful building in a beautiful location, and we want to make sure that we are doing our bit for sustainability,” said Mr Bingham.

“We've introduced a new recycling policy to make sure that we're recycling as much waste as we can and we're encouraging suppliers to look at ways we can work together to lessen our impact on the environment.”

The pub has also introduced a kitchen garden, where a small selection of produce - including courgettes, red and white onions, a variety of tomatoes, peas, carrots and rhubarb - is grown to be used in the meals prepared for diners.

“We don't have the space to be self-sufficient and meet all our kitchen requirements, but we are doing what we can to reduce our carbon footprint and provide our customers with really fresh food,” said Mr Bingham.

“We also have a wall in the garden on the patio which we've planted up with herbs like chives, thyme and even some wild strawberries. It's nice for the chef to just wander into the garden and pick the fresh herbs he needs.”

Mr Bingham, who runs the RiverGarden in conjunction with his mother, Sheena Bingham, said he had grown extremely attached to the chickens and looked forward to seeing them every day.

The Evening News' Love Your Local campaign has encouraged people to support their local pubs or risk losing them for good.

For more stories on the Evening News' Love Your Local campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal

Have you got a story for our campaign? Call Love Your Local reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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