Back in 2006, when we first moved into our current house, we started a small veg patch.
At that time, we knew next to nothing about gardening so we merrily planted all kinds of seeds and plants, not knowing what results we’d get. The outcome was a glut of tomatoes (6 plants is a few too many to feed 2 people) courgettes, pumpkins, and various other crops.
Not wanting to waste the surplus that we still had on our hands once we’d distributed it to family and friends, we set about making our first batch of chutney. Being massive River Cottage fans, we used Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe for ‘Glutney’ as all the ingredients were exactly what we had tons of!
It was a long, but fun process, which ended with Richard having to stay awake til 1am stirring the pan, as we totally underestimated the time it would take to break down into the lovely rich brown result we were aiming for!
Being the caring, sharing people that we are, we dished out jars to family and friends in order to get their reaction to our efforts, and we’re pleased to report that it got great reviews!
Since that time, we have adapted the original recipe with every batch until we got a version that we felt was personal to us, and we’ve gone on to try our hand at several other preserves.
This first experience in the world of preserve making lead us, naturally, to pay more attention to what was on offer at local farm shops and farmers markets, and we noticed to our dismay, that a lot of the time, products are simply ‘branded up’ to appear local, but actually are produced in another part of the country. Not only this, but very often the ingredients contain artificial colours and preservatives, which goes against the whole ethos of preserving food.
The more we saw this kind of thing on offer, the more we thought “well we can do better than that!” which spurred us on to come up with a name for our range, and have some branding designed by our fabulous friend, Caroline Hayes.
We’ve now sold our products at a couple of local craft fairs (we’ll tell you more about that in another blog) and eventually we’d like to get to a point where we can supply local farm shops and restaurants.
Who knows what 2011 will bring!