A CHESHIRE vegetable farmer with more than 60 years of experience is celebrating more than 37 years of growing Asian speciality vegetables for a famous Manchester restaurant, Yang Sing.
Dennis Ford, 77, and wife Pat have over 60 years’ experience of growing vegetables at Smithy Bank nursery, near to Norley and Delamere Forest.
Dennis, who was born near Delamere, has lived in Cheshire all of his life and now lives with wife Pat in the house they’ve built on their six acre farm, Smithy Bank nursery near Norley. Beginning his career in market gardening after finishing school, Dennis has experienced growing everything from flowers, to lettuce, to Asian vegetables over the last 60 years.
He has been supplying Asian fruit and vegetables, such as pak choi and hairy melon, to the Chinese Cantonese restaurant Yang Sing, which celebrates it 40th anniversary this year, on Princess Street in Manchester.
Executive chef at the Yang Sing, Harry Yeung, uses the Asian vegetables, pak choi, kai lan, kai choi, red root spinach, and hairy melon, as well as staples such as lettuce as part of his delicious menu which includes dim sum, wok cooking and roasted dishes.
Bonnie Yeung from Yang Sing said, “Harry spotted Dennis delivering some vegetables in China Town to Woo Sang & WH Lung, and then accosted him in the street also wanting to buy some vegetables.
“Over the years their relationship has developed, Harry has even brought back seeds of different Asian vegetable varieties from Hong Kong for Dennis to grow!
“Dennis delivers fresh vegetables to us at Yang Sing around two or three times a week and Harry will adapt and change dishes depending on the vegetables that are in season throughout the year.
“We’re currently celebrating the restaurant’s 40th anniversary, and it’s great to have fantastic suppliers such as Dennis and Smithy Bank nursery that we have worked with so closely since opening.”
Dennis says: “I love the trade, and that’s why I’ve been doing it for all of these years.
“I start every morning by sowing seeds, then rotating the soil, treating club weed, then cutting and boxing, as well as delivering late afternoon and then coming home to do the office work, and that’s almost every day.
“The job is extremely physical and I won’t lie, I’m looking forward to the day I retire!”