Ingredient Showcase: Garlic

We don’t know about you but it certainly feels as though Spring has sprung today, the sun is shining (mostly!), it’s getting warmer and pretty daffodils and bluebells are in abundance everywhere. One foodie staple of spring is wild garlic which at this time of year can be found throughout the country along riversides and woodland. We thought we’d celebrate this humble bulb with a focus on some of the bestselling products containing it starting with cheese.

Lynher Dairies Cornish Yarg is undoubtedly one of our bestselling cheeses but did you know that they also produce a wild garlic variety? The cheese itself is made to the exact same recipe with the only difference being that rather than wrapped in nettles, the Garlic Yarg is wrapped in wild garlic leaves but the difference in flavour is simply staggering. The leaves impart a lovely gentle garlic flavour as well as slightly altering the texture of the cheese, making it firmer and less crumbly than the original. The team at Lynher pick their wild garlic from surrounding Cornish woodland each spring in an extremely limited time frame – normally only from mid-March to the end of April – the leaves are then wrapped around the cheeses and left to mature for up to six months. The Garlic Yarg is available in both whole 1.6kg rounds as well as half moons and retail pre-packs.

West Country Olives are a new addition to our product list with a variety of different flavours available. The garlic olives have already become one of the most popular flavours and with good reason for garlic lovers! These mammoth Halkidiki olives are hand stuffed with whole garlic cloves before being finished with minced garlic and rapeseed oil. These are available in individual 200g resealable pouches as well as 1kg catering packs.

Waterhouse Fayre are producers of a range of bestselling jams and chutneys including a slow roasted garlic chutney. The whole garlic is roasted for a total of four hours before red onion, spices and red wine vinegar is added and these are then cooked together for a further four hours. Anyone who has eaten roasted garlic on its own can atone for the delightful sweetness of flavour that it takes on and this chutney is no exception as it develops a lovely, sweet mellowness. The Waterhouse Fayre chutneys are available in trays of 6x325g jars.

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Q&A Eggbuckland Stores

The Heart of our Company Blog

This month we are focusing on Eggbuckland Community Stores near Plymouth. 

Thank you to Emma for taking part in this months Customer Q&A, Emma took over the store around 18 months ago as a failing business and she has completely  transformed it, a shop that is growing all the time.
They have a really good Facebook following and presence and are very fond of by their Customers. 

They stock a massive range of products so if you are local to the Eggbuckland area or passing by be sure to pop in meet the friendly Team and have a look at what produce they have to offer.

They run a weekly meat raffle which is 50p a ticket, and all the money goes back in the pot. The Store love running this raffle and being able to give this as a prize to a Customer every week – such a great idea!

  1. How long has Eggbuckland Stores been running?

I took it over as a failed buisness 18 months ago, it was established 1967 I think!

  1. What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

    I just love good food & get a buzz out of being able to sell it on

  2. If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?

Taw valley tasty cheddar
St endellion Brie
Bousin

  1. Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?

A slight increase, I think the noticeable difference has been an increase in basket spend.

  1. How long have you been a Customer of Isca?

I took you on from the old buisness 18 months ago

  1. What are some of your best-selling products?

    Have these changed during the past year? Farm meat, free-range eggs, cheeses

  2. Do you regularly look for new stock? Is there any products we don’t currently sell that you you’d like to see available?

    I cant find paneer cheese, that would be useful. Also bousin cheese. Am always looking, love quirky new things, anything that co ops don’t sell!
    We can definitely get hold of those cheeses as above, we don’t keep them in stock but can order them in.

If you’d like to get involved as a Customer or Supplier, drop us an email info@iscafoods.co.uk or message us on facebook to show your interest. 

When life is abit more back to normal we will be doing some face to face chats too. 

Showing Emma who runs the store
"It's like a village shop in the middle of a City"
Showing socially distanced celebration with Customers who live opposite the store
Taken last summer - Socially Distanced 70th Celebrations with Customers who live opposite the store
Showing Orchardlea labelled meats
Selection of Orchardlea pre-packed meats
Fridge full of Orchardlea pre-packed cheese
Winner of weekly meat raffle
A winner of the weekly meat raffle
Showing other products available
Shelves stocked full of a variety of products
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International Women’s Day – Celebrating the Fantastic Women of Orchardlea Foods!

Today is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. We thought we would celebrate in our own way by pooling together the fantastic women who make this business work.

Tracey is a picker and packer in the picking room downstairs. She has been here for nearly six years and now knows all she could ever want to know about our customer orders! She also drives one of our delivery vans at the end of the week and if your business is anywhere in the Charmouth to East Devon area you’ll probably recognise her.

Hannah joined the business a little over a year ago when Orchardlea Occasion Foods was founded. Established as our sister business supplying buffet food for weddings and parties this sadly had to take a back seat once Covid-19 hit but Hannah didn’t let this stop her. She instead began helping us out in the office, taking orders, inputting invoices and handling our social media accounts. This is going from strength to strength and we are looking forward to showcasing some new ideas this year so watch this space!

Bethany (me – hi!) is responsible for inputting invoices and helps Hannah with the social media side of things as well as this blog. I have worked here for the last four years and the job role has evolved with me. I began in the picking room, as most of our staff tend to, in order to get to know the vast array of products we stock however it’s been four years and some things I’m still not sure on!

Karen is simply a machine. Quite honestly we don’t know how we would manage without her. She is responsible for restocking our cheeses and pre-packaged products including pates, bacon and gala pie. Her knowledge of the products is second to none having previously worked for Orchardlea Foods before moving over to Isca and now we’re back to the name of Orchardlea again!

After an extremely busy year Karen now has some help in the form of Rosie who joined us in 2019.
Rosie also helps with picking orders during busy periods.
Karen and Rosie work well together ensuring that all of pre packed retail products are stocked up ready for picking.

Caroline works in our meat slicing room and is responsible for all of the pre-packed meats including salami, ham and turkey as well as slicing joints of meat for our bulk customers. She also helps out in the picking room during busy periods. Caroline is currently off on the furlough scheme but we look forward to welcoming her back as soon as possible.

Kate now only works for us occasionally but she was once an integral member of our staff working alongside Karen and Tracey in the picking room. She has now set up her own baking business Kate’s Kakes and as part of this bakes scones, brownies and mini cakes for our Orchardlea Occasion Food hampers which soared in popularity due to the lock down last year.
Kate is Tim’s Wife another family member in the Orchardlea team!

Bea is the most recent addition to our team having joined us only a few months ago. Bea now oversees the account side of the business as well as assisting with our social media presence. She will also be helping Hannah with the Orchardlea Occasion Foods side of the business in particular setting up buffets for weddings and parties which will hopefully be able to go ahead in the summer.

Happy International Women’s Day from all the women here at Orchardlea Foods!

Traey - Picker, packer and driver
Bethany holding Kickin Chicken pie
Bethany - Admin
Bea and Hannah - Admin
Karen and Rosie - Cutting and packing
Kate - Worked at Isca for a long time, now a star baker!
Photo of Orchardlea Ladies
Photo from left to right - Hannah, Karen, Tracey, Bea, Bethany
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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 6

Lochie has been with us for around two years now, he started here working in the picking room and still does picking on the busier days, however for the past six months he has been keeping check on the stock, ordering and ringing customers for orders and has become a bit of an all rounder or you could say ‘he has his fingers in all the pies’ !

Lochie is the second member of staff to choose the chicken, leek and bacon pie as his favourite: “as a man who loves meat, this is a winner and the creamy sauce compliments it so well.”
He is also a big fan of the Steak and Ale pie, enjoying the rich flavour of the locally sourced beef and Otter Ale.

Q&A with Lochie

Q: Favourite Pie and why?
A: Chicken and bacon definitely, I’m a man who loves meat and the creamy sauce compliments it so well!

Q: Chips or Mash?
A: Chips all day every day, mash is probably the worst way to have a potato!

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?
A: Beef stew and dumplings, can’t beat it. Good for anytime of the year.

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?
A: Near enough 2 years now.

Q: What is your role at Isca?
A: Mainly calling all our customers for the orders.

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?
A: Absolutely not, never pictured myself here but I do love it really! I was working as a bartender before this, so feel free to ask me about any alcohol on the phone – which we have now started selling by the way – little bit of a plug!

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?
A: Probably most excited to be playing football again.

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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 5

Hannah has been with us for just over a year now, she was previously a Civil Servant at Exeter Combined Court for 12 years but after having their second little girl and being Liam’s wife she decided it was the right time to leave the Court Service and join us here at Isca!

As well as setting up Orchardlea Occasion Foods, a new buffet food and hamper side to the business, she has been covering my role while I have been on maternity leave. We will continue to work together on the admin, social media and marketing side of Isca. 

The pie of choice for Hannah is also the flavoursome Homity Pie, “the garlic, potato and cheese flavour is just so satisfying and moreish, the pastry really does round it off.” 

Q & A 

Q: Favourite Pie and why?

A: Homity Pie, but has to be hot! I absolutely love the Chunk homity pie, the potato, garlic and cheese is just immense it is so filling, it is an absolute carb feast but you need carbs especially in the winter months!

 

Q: Chips or Mash?

A: Hard one, I do love pie and mash but the mash has to be good! So probably chips, I don’t tend to have chips much either so always enjoy them when I do. 

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?

A: Starter – Breaded brie and cranberry
Main – Probably roast dinner 
Pudding – Crumble

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?

A: Just over a year properly, but I have been involved with Isca for a long time due to Liam running the business. I’m glad to be a part of the team now and there is a lot in the pipeline for us as a business going forward – exciting times ahead!

Q: What is your role at Isca?

A: I manage ‘Orchardlea Occasion Foods’ our new buffet food/hamper side of the business, but also admin for Isca, taking orders, emails, invoicing, social media, picking orders if we are short of staff/busy, a bit of everything really!

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?

A: Not at all, I loveee food and especially cheese so I am in the right place now! I have always done admin/event based roles but had never used Sage (our invoice system) before. I enjoy a new challenge though so I never mind learning new skills.

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?

A: Definitely seeing friends and family properly, enjoying good food and a break from cooking myself!
Being able to do more with our girls, our youngest (Molly) is nearly 2 and has hardly seen any animals yet!

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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 4

Dan started working for us in the complete mayhem of last year and since then has pretty much managed to cover all aspects of the business from picking and packing orders to taking a starring role in our Westcountry Olive promotional videos and recently trying his hand at inputting invoices and updating our website after a slight altercation with his thumb. As the requisite foodie type required to work in this industry Dan said “my death row meal would be pie, pie and chips, pie and mash, pie on its own – just pie”.

His pie of choice is the classic chicken and bacon, “if I know I’ve got a chicken & bacon pie waiting for me at the end of the day it makes it a whole lot better”. We agree, pie does make things better, and the chicken & bacon pie from Chunk of Devon is no exception – lovely and creamy with big chunks of tender chicken combined with intensely smoky bacon pieces in a creamy white wine sauce. What’s not to love?

Q&A with Dan

Q: Favourite chunk pie and why? 

A: Chicken, bacon and leek, combination of flavours really work well together, chunk create smooth yet complex gravy that really combines the chicken and bacon.

Of course the best thing about any chunk pie is the perfect pastry, flacky which is owed to being a great British pie

Q: Chips or mash? 

A: Long pause….. Chips due to the simple fact that you can dip into the gravy/sauce and clean up the plate.

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? 

A: Starter – mozzarrella dipper, halloumi fries and sweet chilli dip

 

Main – steak and ale pie, yorkshire puddings, roast pudding red cabbage and cauliflower cheese

 

Pudding – sticky pudding toffee

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods? 

 A: Around 6/7 months 

Q: What is your role at Isca? 

A: Olive production manager, Picker, due to a recent cycling incident he has taken more of an admin role currently helping with invoicing and banking.

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?

A: No, however life is built on spontaneous experiences which will make great stories for when i am an old man! 

The Acting dream will never die and i may become famous one day

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when Lockdown restrictions have been eased completely? 

A: Leaving the house without a panic of ‘have i got a mask on me!!’

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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 3

Today is the turn of yours truly in our staff favouite pie series for British Pie Week. I have worked here for the last four years and over that time my job role has ranged from picking and packing orders in the cutting room to answering the phones, inputting invoices, posting on our social media and, obviously since you’re reading this, writing our blogs. I wasn’t always into food and in fact used to be an incredibly fussy eater however I have always enjoyed a good pie. I would argue that my husband makes the best pies but since that wasn’t an option here my favourite has to be the Kickin Chicken curry pie from Chunk of Devon.

This lightly spiced pie is packed full of flavour from the chunks of tender chicken marinaded in curry spices mixed with onions, tomatoes and peppers in a creamy coconut curry sauce. The buttery shortcrust pastry is lovely and crisp which compliments the filling and paired with some classic chunky chips this is my idea of a perfect pie.

Q&A with Bethany

Q: Favourite Pie and why?
A: Usually I would choose my husbands homemade Chicken & Chorizo pie with a suet pastry top which is basically a huge dumpling and utterly delicious but for this I have chosen the Kickin’ Chicken Curry pie. It’s so full of flavour with just a hint of spice which I love.

Q: Chips or Mash?
A: It’s got to be proper thick cut chips deep fried so they are crispy on the outside and lovely and fluffy on the inside.

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?
A: To start I would choose a fish platter mostly because I can never just choose one thing! So on it would be some smoked salmon pate, lightly dressed handpicked crab and grilled oysters with a lemon and thyme butter with some sour dough bread and lots of salted butter – preferably black garlic butter which is absolutely delicious. Then a crab risotto topped with cod loin wrapped in parma ham with some roasted cherry tomatoes and finally a sticky toffee pudding with proper Devon clotted cream. I’ll be the size of a house when I’m finished!

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?
A: I think four years… it’s a bit of a blur.

Q: What is your role at Isca?
A: Assorted! Anything from inputting invoices, posting on social media, answering the phones etc.

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?
A: No but it seems to be where I have ended up, I love eating and writing about food so I think I’m in the right place!

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?
A: Definitely going out for some nice food and drinks with friends. Dinner, pub lunch, breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, cocktails, anything. I’m looking forward to eating something that I haven’t had to cook or clear up.

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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 2

Tracey is the second staff member to feature in our staff favourite pie series. Tracey has worked here for six years as a picker and packer in our warehouse as well as a delivery driver. She is also proficient in cutting our block cheeses down to size although this skill has been somewhat neglected over the past few months as we have kept her too busy in the packing room!

Chips are Tracey’s preferred accompaniment to pie and we have to agree that perfectly cooked chips – deliciously fluffy on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside – are hard to beat. The pie that Tracey has chosen as her favourite is the Homity, this is a slightly old fashioned Irish recipe given a Devon twist by Chunk of Devon. A vegetarian classic made with potato, mature Cheddar cheese, onion and garlic and topped with more cheese this is the ultimate cheese lovers delight. The topping is wonderfully oozy and the garlic and cream in this recipe make it rich and hearty – perfect for cold winter days.

Q&A with Tracey

Q: Favourite Pie and why?
A: Homity Pie, different to having gravy in your pie and the flavour is lovely.

Q: Chips or Mash?
A: Chips

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?
A: Roast Dinner

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?
A: Coming up to 6 years in August

Q: What is your role at Isca?
A: Picker

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?
A: Yes from when I did a day at college when I was at school, then when I finished school and went onto college I studied Catering and Hospitality for 2 years.

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?
A: Meeting up with family

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It’s British Pie Week!

And just like that it’s the time of year again where the humble pie gets a publicity hit. British Pie Week celebrates everything good about the pie from the delicious buttery pastry (we’re into shortcrust but props to puff and suet pastry toppings too!) to the rich, more-ish filling we love all things pie and this week we want to share that love with you.

Chunk Pies are a very popular go to if staff have forgotten their lunch which funnily enough happens quite often (any excuse for a Chunk Pie for lunch!)
We’ve asked five of our fabulous staff members their favourite Chunk of Devon pie and we’re starting today with the Boss Man himself, Liam!

Liam has been at Isca for over 10 years now, he has been running the business for several years as his father (Tim) wanted to take a back seat.

Liam is very partial to the Ultimate Steak Pie, the classic combination of steak and gravy!
He does also have a close second favourite being the chicken, bacon and leek pie, which comes down to the creamy gravy and the perfect flavour combos.

 

Q&A with Liam

Q: Favourite Chunk Pie and why?
A: I have two Chunk pies that are up both up there, the Ultimate Steak pie and the Chicken, bacon and leek pie.
The steak is just what a good pie should be, tender meat with a hearty gravy, and the chicken and bacon is just the best flavour combination.

Q: Chips or mash?
A: Would depend on what I am having to accompany it but I think mash with pie definitely!

Q: If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? 
A: Lamb roast with all the trimmings and a good old cheese board for pudding

Q: How long have you worked at Isca? 
A: 10 years plus

Q:  What is your role at Isca? 
A: Managing Director

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the food industry?
A: No, my main background is I.T (which still comes in very handy at Isca) but I hadn’t planned to be at Isca until in between jobs. Dad had some work for me and then I ended up staying; years later Dad wanted to take a backseat so I took on the running of the business and the rest is history as they say!

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have been eased completely?

A: Seeing family and friends, playing sport again and going out for some good food again!

 

Look out for our chat with Tracey tomorrow..!

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