It’s National Sandwich Week! We’re celebrating all this week by offering 10% off of this most versatile of sandwich fillings – ham. Below we explore some of our favourite ways to jazz up this sandwich institution.
Ham & Cheese Toasties
It goes without saying that there is nothing that cannot be improved with the addition of cheese, particularly melted cheese. For a classic toastie we recommend using our thickly sliced Ham Off the Bone which is packed full of flavour and a cheese that melts easily like a Gruyere or Gouda or a strong, extra mature Cheddar. The trick to a good toastie is lots of butter and a very hot pan. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and once you’ve added the sandwich use a plate or bowl with a can of soup or beans on top to weigh it down, this helps to compact the sandwich and ensures that the cheese melts evenly – enjoy!
Mighty Meaty Ham Sandwich
Recreate the classic Subway (other sandwich shops are available!) sandwich with our thickly cut Premium Devon ham and a variety of cured meats. We like it with Milano salami, peppery pastrami and prosciutto parma ham combined with some salty olives like our Kalamata or Classic Blend and a little mayonnaise. This works best on rolls rather than sliced bread as all that filling needs a sturdy receptacle!
Ham & Goats Cheese Baguette
Creamy goats cheese combined with ham and a dollop of fiery tomato chutney – what’s not to love! We recommend using our delicious subtly smoked ham and the Ticklemore Goat cheese with Waterhouse Fayre Spicy Tomato chutney. We’d also recommend using a fresh baguette for this as the hard outer crust works well with the soft goats cheese although this would also work with fresh granary or wholemeal bread to suit your preferences. We like the spicy tomato chutney but you could also use a chilli jam for a bit of sweetness if you prefer.
We hope you enjoy this national sandwich week, remember to tag us in any of your creations via our social media pages!
The weather is improving, Covid restrictions are easing and we’re all itching to get out of the houses we’ve been stuck in for more than a year so what better first step back to normality than a farm shop? Bursting with home grown fruit and vegetables, local cheese and meat counters, home made gifts from small scale producers, onsite cafes with alfresco dining, play areas for the kids and in some cases roaming animals to chase (kidding, obviously), farm shops offer a unique day out full of opportunity. Here we highlight three great local farm shops to visit this spring.
Let’s start with Thornes Farm Shop. Located just outside Crediton Thorne Farm has been owned by Anthony Thorne since 1986 but it wasn’t until the early 90’s, when locals began asking to buy produce directly, that the idea to open a shop arose. Opened in 1992, the shop specialises in home grown fresh produce straight from the fields as well as locally baked bread and pies, meats, local cheeses and chutneys, local wines, spirits and of course cider. Thornes has also become known for its ‘Pick Your Own’ fields where, as the name suggests, customers can pick their own produce to take home – we can’t wait to pick our own strawberries there later this year. Visit https://www.thornesfarmshop.co.uk/ for opening times and more info.
Exe Valley Farm Shop in Thorverton just outside of Exeter has been owned and run by the May family since 1990. The shop underwent an extensive renovation three years ago when the shop was extended to almost three times the size and a new butchery counter installed as well as refurbishment of the Ruby Red Cafe. The dedicated butchery counter specialises in livestock bred on the farm while the farm shop itself sources a majority of local products from surrounding producers including cheeses, sliced and cured meats and locally smoked fish as well as a variety of dips and salads. All of the farm’s own Ruby Red cattle, beef, lamb, pork and potatoes are also available from the cafe menu which features a range of breakfasts, burgers and jacket potatoes as well as sandwiches and soups – something for even the pickiest eater. There is plenty of outside seating to adhere to current Covid restrictions and plenty of space for the kids to let off some steam, for more info visit https://exevalleyfarmshop.co.uk/ .
Halberton Court Farm Shop was originally established in 2001 by the Stevens family selling home grown vegetables from an honesty box at the end of the road. By 2007 the business had expanded dramatically and the time had come to invest in a larger shop and an onsite cafe. Today the farm shop stocks a range of home grown fruit and vegetables as well as locally sourced creams, yogurts and cheeses, fresh meat and pies and pasties as well as locally sourced wines, beer, cider and spirits. Following the slight easing of Covid restrictions Halberton’s onsite cafe The Swans Neck Cafe is now open for takeaway treats to enjoy in the sunny garden (weather permitting of course!), visit http://www.halbertoncourtfarmshop.co.uk/index.htm#top for more info.
These farm shops epitomise one of our core business mantras ‘support local’. With the year we’ve all just experienced it’s more important than ever to support your local small business. Most went above and beyond for their customers both old and new during the lockdown(s) and we hope that many of these new found customers will continue to enjoy the benefits of shopping at their local farm shop.
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!
What do you like best on your pizza? Are you a lover of the margarita, or a meat feast? We have got a wide variety of Cheeses available which we supply to Local Community Shops, Farmshops, Deli’s and many other Customers.
Our Sister Company ‘Orchardlea Occasion Foods’ have come up with a Pizza Box which is perfect for a make at home Pizza night with the family, or a date night!
There are 2 boxes available, for more details checkout the website here
We have got lots of quality products that would make the perfect pizza toppings, we stock over 50 cheeses, including cheddar, mozzarella, red Leicester, feta and many more, we sell in both retail packs and bulk.
We also stock a good range of meats including Devon ham, honey roast ham, cured meats, chorizo, salami, pepperoni, WF Chinn’s sausages and bacon for the ultimate meaty pizza!
If you are an olive lover we stock our own brand of Olives – Westcountry Olives in 14 different flavours some for your pizza and some to enjoy another day!
If you are making pizza at home this week we’d love to see your pizza designs – tag us on social media @iscafoods
January 1 – 31st is the month of ‘Veganuary’ for more details visit the website https://veganuary.com/ it has more information on what is it all about and there are alot of Vegan Recipes to try too.
As a Wholesale Business that specialises in Local Cheeses, Meats and Dairy currently we don’t have a huge amount of vegan products to offer but this is something we are always looking at increasing.
Chunk of Devon who is one of our big suppliers we order large quantities from every day they they have been promoting the ‘Veganuary’ box for the whole of this month which includes their 4 vegan products that they supply including –
Cheatin’ Cheese Pasty, Spicy Jack Pie, Nips and Nuts Pie, Roast veg Pasty.
All of the above vegan products except the Cheating cheese are available to Wholesale Customers, Cheatin’ Cheese is only part of the veganuary box.
We do usually stock a Vegan cheese ‘Nature & Moi Dairy Free White Cheddar’ available in pre pack and available in 1 KG blocks too, but due to Coronavirus we have had problems stocking it, we hope to have it back in stock in the near future.
We also stock a good selection of Savoury crackers which were a huge hit at Christmas they are called ‘Cradoc’s Crackers’ and their packaging is fantastic, it is run by the lovely Allie and Ella another family run business.
Cradoc’s Crackers are baked with Wheat, Whole wheat, and Oats as well as loads of veg, fruits, flowers, seeds, herbs and spices.
Egg Free/Nut Free/Sesame Free/Palm-oil Free, Vegetarian and a selection
They have a large selection of flavours, of which 6 are Vegan friendly Beetroot and Garlic, Spinach and Celery, Checkers, Sea Salted, Oat Crackers, Wholemeal wheat, chia and flax seeds.
Well it wouldn’t be right to not do a blog about this very surreal year we have had, the year of toilet roll wars, virtual quizzes, face masks, being 2 metres apart, queing to get into a supermarket, not being able to get a home delivery slot, cancelled weddings and events, no fans in stadiums, but thankfully no shortage on cheese – phew!!
Who would have thought that a virus would have caused so much disruption to this year and still continues to 9 months on!
For us as a business we have been very fortunate to be able to remain open, with our amazing suppliers carrying on supplying us throughout this year, the staff have worked extremely hard, put in some long hours to ensure that all of our Customers orders have been met throughout the busiest times of this year.
We are very lucky that we supply the farm shops, delis, local convenient stores , garages, butchers and cafes which have remained opened during this pandemic, more and more people have started to and continue to shop local which is so important in these times to support the smaller businesses.
For us in the grand scheme of things this year has actually been a very successful one and one we definitely wont forget, we’d really like to share our achievements from this year and we strongly believe that we are going to go from strength to strength as a business in 2021 with more exciting things to come.
Lets rewind back to January 2020 and start with our building work that has taken place.
January 2020 – Time for an extension
In January 2020 work began on the extension which has given us a much larger fridge and warehouse area another production room, and above this area we now have 2 offices, kitchen/staff room, male and female toilets (no more sharing!) and a waiting area with a new entrance and staircase which will give us access directly from the car park.
We are very nearly there with the work, the car park area needs completing and signage for the building needs to be done but the majority is now in place and is really was something that needed doing, we would have struggled to remain open during this pandemic if we didn’t have the extra space we have got now, Christmas last year our fridge space was over flowing, so this year it has been much easier to manage (although still rather full!)
We were planning to have an open day this year but due to Covid-19 and building works this hasn’t been able to happen, but this is something in the pipeline hopefully for next year so look out for news on this maybe mid/late 2021?
Orchardlea Occasion Foods and Westcountry Olives
This year we have launched 2 Sister Businesses which if you don’t already know about you will hopefully see crop up on social media now.
Orchardlea Occasion Foods launched in January this year just before Covid-19 came along, the idea is to supply local high quality buffet food for weddings, parties and events of any size.
We launched the Facebook page and website, had weddings, parties and events booked in the diary but none of them have been able to go ahead and everything is currently postponed until next year.
We have like many other companies diversified and been doing some hampers this year instead, which have been a lot of cheese hampers and smaller adapted versions of our buffet packages (Devon Picnic package for instance)
For Father’s Day we did a couple of Pub lunch hampers which were incredibly popular, we did over 60 in the end so we may do these again next year.
Westcountry Olives was an idea of Tim’s (my Father in Law) who owns the business with Liam (my Husband) his desire is to produce and subsequently eat great tasting olives and to experiment with new flavour combinations. The olives are sourced from around the Mediterranean and they are mixed using Bell and Loxton Oils another local company also based in Devon.
Will created the website and is currently working on the branding to have some new and much better packaging in the near future, he manages the Social Media, correspondence and any orders that are made. Will joined us earlier in the year and is another Family Member to our ever growing Family business!
We sell Westcountry Olives to our Wholesale Customers which are sold in 200g Retail packs and we also do larger bulk packets – 1kg for example. We currently have 14 flavours and are always thinking of new flavour combinations.
As well as wholesale our olives are also available to purchase online via the website www.westcountryolives.co.uk Instagram shop and even on ebay!It was really exciting to finally launch our very own brand of olives and we think that 2021 is going to be a very exciting year for us and our Olive’s! We will have a complete brand design once the new packaging has been done which will really compliment the olives and make this a brand to remember!
New Van designs and branding (Orchardlea Foods)
We will be completely re branding to Orchardlea Foods in the very near future once we have time to get the website finished. The company has been known as Isca Foods for around 30 years but ever since we took on the retail/pre pack side under Orchardlea we have wanted to re brand to Orchardlea Foods but like everything with a small business it all takes time.
We have had 2 of our new vans re designed using Orchardlea Foods, we are really pleased with the design and they certainly stand out in the crowd.
We are hoping this year to have a new website up and running, and hopefully some new systems in place including order forms online, and a much improved invoice system so we can really get the business running more smoothly this is really needed more than ever as the business is growing all the time and we have had taken on alot of new customers this year which is great we just don’t want to let customers down, actually the complete opposite we want to be the best we can be!
We have 20 employees now, of which 5 are new just this year!
I (Hannah, Liam’s Wife) joined in January this year, I had previously worked as a Civil Servant for 12 years at Exeter Crown and County Court but after our 2 girls and in need of a change I felt it was time to join Liam and the Isca team!
As above the plan was to pursue Orchardlea Occasion Foods but instead I helped for quite a while picking orders when we were in the heat of the first lockdown.
I now am still doing Orchardlea Occasion Foods aswell as covering Bethany whilst she is on maternity leave, you have probably spoken to me on the phone (thank you for your patience with me if you have!)
Followed shortly by Will who is the Step Brother to Liam (who runs the business) Will had to unfortunately cut his travelling trip short due to covid-19, when he returned he had no job to go back to so came to join us! It was only going to be a short term job but I think we have probably stolen Will for long term (hopefully anyway) he started off helping in the cutting room and out as a delivery driver to help cover the routes whilst we were in the first lockdown, he then started to come into his own by taking on design work and our websites he had done a lot of this in his previous job so we are very grateful for his knowledge.
Will is also the designer and Manages Westcontry Olives, he is doing a sterling job and will be pushing the olives forward when we return to work next week.
Andy then joined us, his role is in one of the production rooms slicing meats such as hams, cured meats and then packing them into retail size packs, he also does any bulk orders of meats that are required too.
We then employed Dan, he was employed to work through the busy summer period and as we are getting busier needed an extra staff member to pick orders, he has since become the face and voice of Westcountry Olives you may have seen him on the Westcountry Olives social media platforms! Dan is a actually a budding Actor who is waiting for his big break, so we know we haven’t got him for that long which is a real shame he is a real hard worker and a really lovely chap.
We have just employed Bea who is helping us with our banking one day a week to try and keep on top of it, as we get busier and gain more customers the banking becomes a much bigger job which needs more attention so this is a massive help while Bethany is on maternity leave. Bea is also going to be helping with getting some new systems in place, and with the bank reconcile too which is always a hard job.
Going forward into 2021 we have got the car park area and signage to do, we are also going to be making use of some roof space for more storage which is next on the agenda, a hard push for Westcountry Olives to our Wholesale customers, general public and to the Restaurant/pub trade and new packaging to finish the branding to come this year too.
We are possibly going to be adding some more products to our Olive range, more to come on this later in the year.
New and up to date systems will be put in place to assist in running the business more smoothly and getting how we work up to speed and up to date with modern technology, a new website and an online order system.
It is safe to say we have got a busy year ahead, hopefully with not too much more disruption from dreaded Coronavirus!
English Breakfast Day takes place on December 2nd every year and is celebrated by millions of people internationally. It was originally started in 1975 to support the history and heritage of the English Breakfast.
The tradition of the full English breakfast is one that is regularly enjoyed in all four corners of the earth. In the United Kingdom, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the full English Breakfast is making a roaring comeback and is now more popular than at any time since the 1960’s.
We have got a wide selection of the main event of a English breakfast, for the meat lovers we stock Brookes smoked, un smoked, back and streaky bacon which comes in both 454g retail packages and 2.27 catering packs.
We also have English smoked, un smoked, streaky, dry cured and mis shapes which is all packed into retail sized packs in house by our staff in the cutting rooms.
We sell the best sausages around – WF Chinns based in Crediton, Devon, and have worked closely with them for many years. With so many flavours to choose from as well as Gluten Free! We love Chinn’s sausages in our household, sausage and mash is always a winner and the chipolatas in particular are firm favourites with our 2 little girls.
If you like black pudding with your English breakfast, we stock Bury Black and white pudding and Gluten Free is also available. We also slice and pack larger black pudding sticks and pack into retail sizes perfect for selling in Farm shops, Community Shops, Convenience stores and Deli’s.
We have also got halloumi for the vegetarians out there, I for one love abit of grilled halloumi with my fry up!
With every English breakfast an English brew is needed, we stock Devonshire tea Classic Breakfast and Earl Grey Boxes of 6 x 20 tea bags and also in catering size boxes.
We have also got Littlestone’s Coffee whole and ground beans, signature blend and decaf they come in 225g bags.
We are excited to introduce our newest venture West Country Olives, we are now over a month into launching this exciting new brand of olives and it is going from strength to strength.
With a slight delay in launching due to waiting on packaging and then a global pandemic, it is really exciting to be able to finally introduce everyone to this new brand of olives which we think has got a really exciting future.
Regular customers should have received some samples a few weeks ago now as we move from the hugely popular Cornish Olive Stall range to our own West Country Olives. We are in the process of new designs for the packaging and I know alot of feedback has been that the olives taste really good but the packaging isn’t the best, we totally agree and are currently working on this and will be moving to new packaging next year at some point (hopefully with less delays than this year!)
This is all very new for us and we only want to make things better, so all feedback positive and negative is always appreciated.
The 175g packs of Olives are produced and carefully packed on site we use the award winning Bell and Loxton Oils and the best olives available from around the Mediterranean.
We also sell Bell and Loxton Oils in both 250ml and 500ml sizes, the flavours they come in are Original rapeseed, Basil and Garlic.
The pouches are vacuumed of oxygen and then gas flushed, giving the olives a long shelf life. This also means that they are able to be stored at ambient temperatures.
There are now 14 flavours which include – Classic blend, Kalamata, Hand-Stuffed Garlic, Hot Chilli (Very Hot!) , Nocellara Del Belice, Picante Pimento, Rosemary & Garlic, Green Pitted, Harissa Glazed, Hand-Stuffed Jalapeno, Garlic and Chilli, Orange and Coriander, Lemon and Thyme and one more flavour which is being launched tomorrow – follow Westcountry Olives on social media for more details!
We are always experimenting with new flavours and welcome ideas for flavour combinations.
We also can supply larger bulk quantities such as 1 kilo bags, which are perfect for catering, deli’s, the pub trade and much more, the opportunities are endless.
As well as being available to our Wholesale Customers our Olives are also available to purchase via the website www.westcountryolives.co.uk/ Instagram Shop and even on ebay! They can be posted to anywhere in the UK via royal mail.
One of our most popular ways of purchasing is our 3 piece bundle mix and match, pick your favourite 3 flavours for just £9.99, link below for the Westcountry Olives shop.
We love the versatility of natural yogurt but even we know that when faced with a pot of plain natural yogurt many people just don’t know what to do with it – breakfast granola aside! Below we list our 4 favourite ways of using this fantastic ingredient alongside some tasty recipes to try for yourself.
Before we start though here are some of the varieties of yogurt we currently stock: from Langage Farm we have the low fat natural yogurt made using Jersey and Guernsey cows milk available in 450g pots and from Sutton Lucy we have the creamy, full fat natural yogurt available in 500g pots. We can also stock the Langage Farm 0% fat Greek Yogurt available in 450g pots, although this product does require a pre-order.
A marinade is one of our favourite ways of using natural yogurt, it has been a staple part of cuisines around the world for centuries and is now becoming more popular in the UK. Often the recipes only require minimal marinating so are perfect for quick and easy midweek dinners with maximum flavour and there are lots of recipes to try from this delicious spicy yogurt chicken to this yogurt and turmeric fish curry.
Topping a dish with natural yogurt adds a lovely creamy texture to dishes and serves as a ‘cooler’ for slightly spicy meals. The addition of natural yogurt works really well with meat and fish like this Moroccan style meatball dish with cumin and we can personally attest to the flavour of this Persian inspired spiced salmon recipe from chef Sabrina Ghayour.
Natural or Greek yogurt lends itself well to making quick and tasty dips that can be ready in minutes and elevate a midweek dinner or snack to new heights. From this classic Greek Tzatziki best served with crispy fried courgettes to this cooling raita which perfectly compliments a traditional Indian banquet there are dips to suit almost everything!
Of course we couldn’t miss baking off of this list! Yogurt is great to use in baking because of it’s acidity which reacts well with baking soda and it’s natural tangy-ness which keeps the bake balanced. We absolutely love this recipe for lemon and blueberry cake made using Greek yogurt and this chocolate muffin recipe is perfect for chocolate lovers!
Tried any of these recipes using our natural or Greek yogurt? Tag us in your creations via our social media pages below!
Castello have been producing their signature cheeses since 1893 with varieties including traditional, regional recipes as well as their own unique crafted cheeses.
Danish Blue is a sharp and salty cheese with a soft and creamy texture. Originally the cheese was made using goat’s milk to traditional French recipes resulting in a similar profile to Roquefort however the Danish cheesemakers wanted a more mild and balanced flavour better suited to sensitive palates and so the switch to cow’s milk was made. In appearance the Danish Blue is pale, creamy off-white with distinctive blue veins throughout.
This cheese is available in 130g retail packs as well as whole wheels and other catering sizes. Click here for more info.