This weeks ‘Orchardlea Weekly Offer’ is the Cornish Mature and Medium Gouda from the Cornish Gouda Company which is available with 10% off all this week! To celebrate we’ve found four great recipes using this deliciously versatile cheese. Whether you are a wonderful chef worthy of your own Michelin star or a kitchen novice these recipes are easy to follow and sure to deliver tasty results!
Fondue – Popularised in the 60’s this Swedish classic was originally conceived as a way of using up left over cheese and stale bread but today it has gone slightly out of fashion, presumably because of its overtly sharing nature which doesn’t bode well in these overly sanitised times. However it is so easy to make and the wonderful melted concoction is pure heaven for cheese lovers. Replace the Gruyere cheese with Cornish Gouda for a local twist and simply serve with some chopped crunchy vegetables or thickly sliced sourdough bread. https://www.nigella.com/recipes/cheese-fondue
Chicken breast stuffed with Gouda – Once upon a time this would have been an ideal dinner party recipe (remember those!) but for now this would be a great family dinner. We love this retro dish for its simplicity and the Gouda makes the chicken lovely and moist while the prosciutto adds a touch of saltiness. We like to make this extra decadent with a creamy white wine and mushroom sauce and serve with either new or sauteed potatoes. http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/8186/gouda-and-leek-stuffed-chicken-breasts.aspx
Cornish Gouda Quesadillas – This recipe featured on Rick Stein’s Cornwall on BBC Two earlier this year and is a uniquely Cornish take on this Mexican street food staple. These make a delicious lunch or light supper and the sweet freshness of the caramelised apples combines well with the creamy nuttiness of the Gouda. Delicious on its own or with the fresh tomato salsa. https://www.rickstein.com/blog/recipe-gouda-quesadillas-from-rick-steins-cornwall/
Cheddar & Gouda Macaroni Cheese – This recipe is from Jamie Oliver and typically Italian orientated, for a Cornish twist swap the traditional Parmesan for Gouda and we like to add some local English cured streaky smoked bacon for extra flavour. Just dice a couple of the bacon rashers and add them in at the same time as the garlic. Macaroni Cheese can get a bad rap due to some badly made ready meal versions but made from scratch it is a completely different story. The Cornish Gouda in this recipe adds another level of flavour and its low melting point makes it wonderfully oozy. https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pasta-recipes/a-killer-mac-n-cheese/
Tried any of these recipes at home? Tag us in your creations via our social media pages!
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.
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!
How long has Eggbuckland Stores been running?
I took it over as a failed buisness 18 months ago, it was established 1967 I think!
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
If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?
Taw valley tasty cheddar St endellion Brie Bousin
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.
How long have you been a Customer of Isca?
I took you on from the old buisness 18 months ago
What are some of your best-selling products?
Have these changed during the past year? Farm meat, free-range eggs, cheeses
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 email@example.com 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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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
Thank you for taking the time to read our first blog in our series ‘The Heart of our Company’
Every month we will be doing a Q&A with one of our Customers or Suppliers from all across the South West, if you are reading this and would like to get involved just drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on facebook. We are very much open to other ideas for this Blog series too.
Thank you to Ide Community Shop who are the first of our Loyal Customers to take part in our Question & Answer blog.
Q: Can you tell us abit about Ide Community Shop and how long it has been running?
A: Ide Community Shop was started by local people in 2009 when the previous shop closed due to the ill health of the owners. It moved to its purpose-built premises in 2013 and is still staffed and run by volunteers.
Q: What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?
A: As we are a community shop the best bit is being of service to the villagers and getting to know them personally and going over and above the normal service of service a standard shop can offer and helping them out in various ways and looking out for the older members and checking they are ok if they have not been in etc
Q: If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?
Q: Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?
A: Definitely – people are coming in a lot more as we are smaller and limiting number in the shop at one time, so they feel safer and because they just do not want to go into town with more people around. Also, as more people are home working and home schooling they are coming in as not travelling to work or school etc
Q: How long have you been a Customer of Isca?
A: 10 Years plus
Q: What are some of your best-selling products? Have these changed during the past year?
Bacon, cheese, crisps, eggs, milk & wine
A: Sales have gone up across the board on most lines – a lot more alcohol has sold during lockdown as people have to drink at home. Chocolate and crisps sales have also increased as people treat themselves more as a result of having to stay in. Also, more lunchtime type foods are selling as again people eat at home and feed their children more at home rather than them having school dinners.
Q: Is there anything we don’t sell currently that you’d like to see available?
We get everything we need of you and think you carry a great range – we especially like all the local products as we try and buy as much local and support local producers and suppliers much as we can. This has always been our policy since the start
Q: When Covid has decided to leave us alone and we can finally start to do fun things again, what is the first thing you are going to do/ or have booked already?
Definitely to have time with friends and family – I have so missed seeing people especially the older relatives during this time
Q: Where is your favourite place to eat locally?
A: Hard to say as we have so many great local places around us – the two pubs in the village by the shop, The Huntsman Inn, and The Poachers Inn both are great places to eat with brilliant atmospheres and have fantastic landlords and again are a huge part of village life. Further afield the London Inn at Morchard Bishop is great with an exceptional landlord in Vera and they offer fantastic home cooked food in huge portions.
Q: As a very valued Customer is there anything we can do better to improve the service you are receiving from us?
A: Isca offer great service and great customer care skills on every level – no improvement necessary (just to confirm there was no free cheese given from Isca as a bribe for this answer!)
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!