The Grove Cromer has always been a family affair. Bought in 1936 by Bob and Hilda Graveling, it is now in its third generation, run by the Graveling siblings. Richard is the general manager, Chris does all the business administration, Liz the HR and Ruth owns the Glamping business. “The Grove has blossomed since we took it over in 2010” Chris says, “but really the fact that the business is what it is today is due to my parents who ran it from 1978 to 2010”.
Now in their 80s and 70s, respectively, John and Ann Graveling are still involved in the business today. In fact, The Grove’s latest success is entirely down to Ann and the skills she learnt while running The Grove. Chris continues “Last year, we won ‘Hidden Gem of the South East’ in the eviivo awards, and the judge was most impressed with mum’s marmalade, which is served at breakfast. He recommended that we should put it in for the Marmalade Awards held in Dalemain House in Cumbria. So we did, and she came out with two silver awards for both her Citrus Marmalade and her Seville Orange Marmalade. Mum’s marmalade has always been a hit with our guests at breakfast; we get loads of compliments on it.” As well as serving the marmalade for breakfast, it can also be bought on the roadside, with all proceeds going to charity.
John is also still a constant presence in the house. As well as offering general advice from his years of experience in the industry, and knowing exactly where every pipe and wire in the 200 year-old building go, John is firmly in control of fruit and vegetable gardens. The Grove has always had a large emphasis on home grown produce, starting with Bob’s cows, pigs, goats and hens. Since opening to as a restaurant in 2011, The Grove has made this its main focus, and gained a reputation for fresh produce, often still growing just hours before it is eaten. In terms of food miles, we are talking about 0.06 miles! John’s poly-tunnel and fruit and vegetable plot produce salad vegetables, beans, courgettes, brassicas, alliums, herbs, gooseberries, red currants, cherries, apples, pears as well as trying more unusual fare. Last year, there were cucamelons; a cross between a cucumber and a melon, the year before tomatilloes. “I don’t know what my grandparents would think of the food we serve” says Chris, “but I’m sure they would be very happy to see how many people are enjoying The Grove now”.