Plaice in the sun for Forest Row

Veasey and sons, Forest Row.'Chris Veasey and Dan Howes SUS-160426-235754008
Veasey and sons, Forest Row.'Chris Veasey and Dan Howes SUS-160426-235754008

Winning is becoming a habit for a Forest Row fishmonger.

Veasey & Sons in the village have won first place in top national competition, the Farm Shop and Deli Awards which aim to recognise ‘the best standards of speciality retail market and celebrate highest levels of service, product knowledge, initiative, innovation and community involvement.’

The company has also regularly topped the placings in the Sussex Food and Drink Awards from 2012 onwards and have won foodie awards for five of the six years they have been open.

Although Forest Row is about 20 miles from the sea, the firm’s bosses say their fish could not be fresher. That’s because founder Chris Veasey was a fisherman for more than 30 years.

Store manager Dan Howes said: “That was in the days when they used to bring the boats up to the beach at Eastbourne. We used to have a stall at the farmers’ market in East Grinstead but then a butcher in Forest Row retired and the shop became vacant. It was too good a chance to miss.”

Veasey owns a fishing boat, Le Belhara, which fishes from Eastbourne harbour daily and uses a variety of methods for a good mixed catch. Depending on the seasons it catches anything from sea bass to whelks and the crew and boat are accredited by the Responsible Fishing Scheme. A fishing trip in search of cuttlefish was recently covered by Country Life magazine and an article in Fishing News cited how good it is to hear something so positive from the industry.

Daniel, 31 who lives in Crowborough, had worked as a chef, specialising when he could in seafood. He went on: “Chris wanted someone he could trust. I think people eat with their eyes so displays are really important. The aesthetics matter when you are arranging fish on a counter. English people used to be a bit scared of buying and cooking fresh fish but that’s not so much the case now. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s TV programmes were really important in bringing home to people how important fish is in a good diet and how easy it can be to cook and serve. If people are a bit uncertain, we suggest what they could buy, how much they need and how they can cook it. I really enjoy that part.”

Daniel explained the shop has its regular local but also lots of customers who drive there from across Sussex and down from South London.

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