Meet the entrepreneurial producers supplying the services with a difference
Jane Maggs left her career as a landscape architect over 10 years ago to produce jams and other delicious preserves using local ingredients, mainly handpicked from the fields, forests and gardens of Cumbria. Her products include unusual ingredients, such as bramble, rosehip and damson.The preserves are then made in Jane’s cottage kitchen by her small and enthusiastic team, using traditional methods which maintain the best flavour.Jane has proved that it is possible to forage for and use wild foods, prepare everything by hand at home and make a successful, award-winning product and business."My whole ethos is that food and landscape are intertwined. I want to show that it is possible to forage for and use wild foods, prepare everything by hand at home and make a business out of it - just! Autumn is a very busy time for us - I'll be out at the crack of dawn tomorrow hunting for mint, wild mushrooms, haws and elderberries too."
Nestling between Lakeland fells and the Irish Sea is the evocatively named Waberthwaite. The village is home to RB Woodall, a ninth generation business famous for making the finest Cumberland sausage and traditionally cured hams and bacon. RB Woodall steadfastly stick to the same recipes and techniques as their ancestors did more than 175 years ago. In 1828, a recently widowed Hannah Woodall, sought to increase her meagre income by curing and processing the neighbouring families pigs. Aided by her eldest son, Jackson, Hannah's business began to prosper laying the foundations of a very special enterprise, which still flourishes almost two centuries later.
Robin and Allison Tuke's 482-acre farm near Kelso is home to a herd of pure-bred Aberdeen Angus cattle. Firmly committed to achieving the best eating, all three stages in their pedigree cattle's journey from field to fork, through breeding, feeding and handling must be spot-on for consistent flavour. Their beef has been served on the Orient Express and in No.10 Downing Street. Tebay stocks Tombuie Charcuterie made from Robin's Angus beef, ranging from pastrami to sweet cured beef to Carpaccio. They are delicately cured to maintain the flavour of the superb beef.
Amanda Hodge and her family know what makes a great pie! The Pie Mill business began when Amanda’s parents, Jim and Margaret Hodge ran The Mill Inn in Mungrisedale, near Penrith. Like so many businesses in the Lakes, the pub suffered from the devastation of Foot and Mouth in 2001, and needed a strategy to regain custom and regular trade. They began by making simple shortcrust pies made from great local ingredients. After a great deal of hard work in finding the right recipes, the pies were a hit—and they were inundated with requests for takeaway pies from the pub. The pies are now produced in a purpose built bakery by daughter Amanda and her team of happy bakers. The multi-award winning pies are made fresh every day with local ingredients to distinctive and unique recipes that embody the character of Cumbria. The Hodge family now run The Queen's Head, Tirril, where the family pies take pride of place on the menu. With names like Lows Pike, Blencathra, Grizedale and Catbells, these are pies that Wainwright would be proud to tuck into.
The Dairy Queen
Doddington is made by Maggie Maxwell in Northumberland—north of the Cheviot Hills. They have a herd of around 200 Holstein-Friesian Ayrshire and Montbeliards. The farm is very much a family affair, her brother Rob looks after the milking, Maggie's other brother & his wife Jackie make ice cream and Maggie makes cheese, and oh what a cheese it is. Maggie makes her cheese from milk that is so fresh, it's still warm from the cow, and she's sure that this freshness contributes to the quality of the cheese when it's mature. The first flavour you notice when biting into a piece of Doddington is smooth and slightly sweet, almost hinting at vanilla and this builds and expands to milky-sweet caramel, toasty nuttiness as a sweet peach-like fruity acidity starts to develop. Texturally dense and firm, crumbling into shards between your teeth and with age, develops some crunchy crystals similar to those found in Parmesan. It's a cheese as fine as any on the continent; in fact, we think it a bit finer.
Lakeland Baker Patrick Moore has won numerous baking awards and it’s not hard to understand why. In 2006, after a career spanning over twenty years in some of the Lake District's finest country houses local chef Patrick Moore started More? The Artisan Bakery. It was his dream to create real alternatives to mass produced industrial food products so prolific in the modern world. Initially selling his wares exclusively at farmers' markets, food fairs and events, the overwhelming demand for his products was the catalyst in founding the bakery business. From his exceptional Sourdough to his unique chocolate stollen ‘Chollen’, made for us; quality, integrity of ingredients and exceptional baking skills typify More's produce. Once you've tasted true artisan bread, you'll wonder why you ever settled for less!
The Sugar Daddies
The Toffee Shop of Penrith is where Neil Boustead makes the finest fudge on Earth! It's a modest establishment on a sloping street at the top end of town. They make only two things, fudge and toffee. They make them so well, they need sell nothing else! Perfection wrapped in greaseproof paper. It's still made, as it has always been made, in a small kitchen at the back of the shop, although these days there are two kitchens there. Sugar, sugar syrup, butter and milk, all melted together and boiled to a precise temperature, and then beaten and beaten and beaten to achieve that unique, firm but soft, flaky but dense texture. The satisfying snap of breaking off a piece of Penrith fudge is a hallmark of something made properly.
Having sold their restaurant in Grange-over-Sands in 1989, The Johns family bought Cartmel Village Shop. In the small kitchen at the rear of the shop they made many of the popular dishes that they had served in the restaurant to sell as a take-home product. Demand for Sticky Toffee Pudding soon far outstretched the other dishes, so the Johns family soon started making the puddings in different sizes and the famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding was born. A purpose-built kitchen was opened in 2000 in the grounds of the family home. Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding is made from 100% natural ingredients, using traditional baking methods in their Cumbrian Bakery. Pure cane sugar, sticky dates, free range eggs, real cream and butter are just some of the yummy ingredients that go into each lovingly-made pudding.
Mr Vikki's is a small bespoke Indian pickle producer based in the Lake District. The recipes are all created by pickle connoisseur Adam Marks who is dedicated to using fresh, natural and, where possible, local ingredients. Mr Vikki's is made in small batches and they do not compromise on quality. In a bewilderingly wide range of condiments, Mr Vikki recipes will pep up anything from a pork pie to Sunday Lunch leftovers.
The Eden Brewery is based at the old brewery at Brougham Hall (those in the know pronounce it Broom!). The brewery was set up by enthusiastic home brewers, Jason Hill and Stephen Mitchell. Over 12 months in the planning, initially Jason spent some time at a couple of local breweries to gain knowledge and insight into commercial brewing. Eden Brewery brews our own "Tebay Blonde” for Westmorland. The beer is described as "a light blonde ale produced from Marris Otter Pale Ale malt and a new British hop, 103, grown for its alpine and floral tones and a hint of liquorice”—that's beer lover speak for delicious.
The Lyth and Winster Valleys in the Lake District are famous for their damson orchards, nearly every farm has an orchard. The valleys look spectacular in April when the trees are covered in white blossom. In September and October the delicious, distinctive, purple fruit is ripe, and is sold at roadside farms, or in bulk to jam and fabulous damson gin makers. Oliver and Victoria Barratt from Cowmire Hall make damson gin from the fruits of their orchard, steeped in the traditional way with London Gin and cane sugar.
If you are a local producer or supplier and think we could forge a fruitful partnership, please do get in touch here.