The ‘New Normal’

vanThe last few months have been, to use the word of the moment, unprecedented. We are proud to have been able to continue to supply our customers throughout the pandemic and our staff have been working incredibly hard to make this possible. Below we look at the ‘new normal’ for Isca Foods.

Back in March we began seeing the effects of panic buying as customers who wouldn’t normally use their local community or farm shop began relying heavily on them when supermarkets had low stock levels. Shopping locally and supporting local businesses and producers is our central ethos and, while we regret that the support needed came in this way, we are glad that more people than ever are discovering their own local shop. We hope that once this is over, these new found customers will continue to support their local businesses rather than reverting back to the supermarket.cheriton fitz

With many people self isolating and unable to visit supermarkets we began home deliveries. This started with our MD Liam and his wife Hannah leafleting in their local area after discovering the demand their neighbours were experiencing and spring-boarded from there. We added this to the routes our vans would be doing day to day and developed a separate price list for private deliveries. Our team boxed up these orders as normal and our drivers delivered them to the doorstep of customers. This demand has eased somewhat in recent weeks as supermarkets have put in safety measures and orchardlea (2)social distancing rules however at a time when local people were struggling we like to think that we helped to make a difference.

Our sister company Orchardlea Occasion Foods (run by the aforementioned Hannah) recently launched their range of delicious hampers. Prior to the outbreak the business focused on providing food for all occasions and events from weddings and christenings to birthday parties and business lunches. However from mid March many of these events were cancelled or postponed and as a result Hannah decided to diversify the business and added bespoke hampers to their portfolio. These can be pub lunch hamperdelivered to yourself as a well deserved treat or as a gift for a much missed loved one during lock down. The new ‘Pub Lunch’ hamper has just been added to the range which can include: Bays Brewery beer, Sandford Orchard cider or Sandford Orchard fresh pressed apple juice, a selection of West Country cheeses, Cradoc’s savoury biscuits, Waterhouse Fayre chutney, Chunk of Devon pasty, Burts crisps, Cornish Olive Stall olives, pork scratchings, pork pie and a selection of sliced meats as well as anything else that takes your fancy from pub lunch hamper 2our own range of products. Hampers are bespoke and put together to order so can be truly personalised to yours or the intended recipients favourites. Visit their Facebook page or website for more info.

This is a strange time for all of us and like many businesses we are adapting to ever changing customer needs and requirements. There is always more that can be done to make things easier for everyone, but we like to think that we have made a good start.

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Orchardlea Occasion Foods

This year we are excited to introduce another side to the business with the launch of Orchardlea Occasion Foods. Supplying a wide range of buffet foods including pies, pasta and rice salads, artisan cheeses, deli products and more Orchardlea Occasion Foods offers a bespoke, fully-tailored service and are able to cater for all occasions from christenings and business events to children’s parties and funerals.orchardlea foods

For all enquiries visit their Facebook page, email info@orchardleaoccasionfoods.co.uk or call on 01392 661001.

 

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Shop Local: Community Shops

Community shops have been on the rise for a number of years; in 1994 there were just 27 registered community shops while in 2016 this number had risen to 348. Community shops are owned and funded by the local community often in rural areas without access to other means of provision. These shops are able to compete with their bigger, nationwide counterparts by focusing on maintaining a loyal customer base, staffing their shops with a mostly volunteer workforce and often providing other community activities including workshops, craft schemes and cafe facilities. Here we explore a few of our local community shops and the work that they do.

ide commIde Community Shop was opened in 2013 following the closure of the village post office. A temporary shop was housed in a portable cabin but after a fundraising effort by local residents, permanent premises were purchased and today the shop is a thriving business. Staffed by 50 volunteers the shop sells a range of locally sourced produce including artisan cheeses, Chunk of Devon pies and pasties and a variety of sliced meats as well as locally made cakes, chocolates and ice creams. Following growing awareness to the dangers of single use plastics the shop has committed to reducing its own plastic waste and in an innovative move  now stock reusable cotton bags made by local residents. These pretty, colourful bags make a refreshing change to flimsy plastic bags and can be used again and again.

Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has similar origins to those just described; in 2016 the owners of the village shop and post office retired and the shop had to close. Local residents became concerned that the loss of the shop as a community hub would be keenly felt and a small group began researching the idea of re-opening. In May 2017 that idea was realised. The community shop is currently housed in a temporary building adjacent to the Methodist Chapel while the cheriton fitznecessary planning permissions and building work continue for permanent premises. The management team focuses on providing the best produce possible for their customers sourced from local producers including bacon, sausages, pies, pasties and savouries, cheese, dips and olives, chocolates, jams and chutneys as well as everyday staples such as bread, eggs and milk. Run by a small army of volunteers the Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has also become a local hub promoting locally run events, displaying public notices and functioning as a place for people to meet.

Otterton’s last convenience shop closed its doors in 2004 despite efforts to try and save it by the local community. In the intervening years residents began canvassing opinion from local residents as to whether to open a community run shop. Over a three year period this group of volunteers hosted fundraising events, scouted for premises and finally obtained planning permission to refurbish the snooker hall and the current otterton commcommunity shop opened in 2014. Staffed by a majority of volunteers the shops mission is to cater to the needs of local people, providing not only everyday staples such as milk, bread and cereal but also locally sourced meat, fish, pies and pasties, wine, beer and liqueurs and frozen, high quality ready meals. The shop is able to compete with its larger, national counterparts by competitive pricing and a focus on local produce.

These three community shops are linked by their stringent sense and love of community; each is run by a group of volunteers willing to give up their time and expertise to the project and provide the best service possible to their local residents. In an era filled with convenience deliveries and big business, we are happy to see these small, local focused shops succeed and wish them all the best of luck for the coming year.

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Father’s Day!

This Sunday 16th is Father’s Day! The perfect day to show your dad how much he means to you and we don’t know about you but the way to our dad’s heart is through his food. Don’t worry we’ve got some delicious foodie ideas to treat him from breakfast until dinner.

PPStreakyBreakfast is the most important meal of the day so they say; why not make the perfect start to your dad’s day with a deliciously hearty breakfast bap? Filled with meaty W. F Chinns sausages, Devon Choice smoked streaky bacon, Bury black pudding and any other accompaniment you can think of – we like adding in an egg and maybe some hash browns or sauteed potatoes – but whatever you decide this is sure to put a spring in his step first thing in the morning.

A Chunk of Devon pie or pasty makes a great lunch or snack any time but we think it makes the perfect treat for your dad this Father’s Day. Their traditional chunk steak pastysteak pasty made with free-range locally sourced beef and wrapped in delicious short crust pastry is their bestseller and also the most decorated Devon pasty having won nine consecutive Taste of the West Gold awards. If your dad is doing his bit for the planet and trying to cut down on meat never fear, the new spicy jack pasty is packed full of flavour with lightly curried spices, coconut milk and delicious jackfruit for a great meat-free alternative.

Dinner time and after a day of indulgence what more could you want than more quickes_extra_matureindulgence!? A quick and simple dish with big, hearty flavours beer mac ‘n’ cheese is one of our guilty pleasures and we’re sure dad will love it too. We like it with both Quicke’s Extra Mature and Quicke’s Oak Smoked for maximum flavour with a light pale ale but choose his favourites and he won’t be disappointed.

We wish all the dad’s out there a happy Father’s Day – filled with some delicious food of course!

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It’s English Tourism Week!

We think of ourselves as extremely lucky to live and work in this beautiful county full of stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and best of all for us, fantastic producers of delicious food. To celebrate English Tourism Week we thought we’d highlight some of the best local producers from Devon including Sutton Lucy Dairy, Waterhouse Fayre and Chunk of Devon who provide a good reason for tourists to flock here all year round!

Sutton Lucy Dairy
These are a fairly new supplier to us but so far we are receiving somsutton lucy dairye great feedback from our customers. Based near Honiton in East Devon Sutton Lucy Dairy was established in 2017 by husband and wife team Rebecca and Philip Cooke after the closure of two local dairies resulted in their farm shop having to stock Cornish milk and creams. They now produce a variety of yogurts and creams made using the milk from their own herd of Jersey and Holstein cows which we think are delicious – particularly the raspberry and the toffee yogurts which seem to disappear soon after delivery…

waterhouse fayreWaterhouse Fayre
We have been stocking Waterhouse Fayre jams and chutneys for a long time now and the range keeps extending! Made by the lovely Ann Stallard and team in their custom built facilities near Tiverton in Mid Devon, the Waterhouse Fayre products have won many awards including a number of gold and silver at the prestigious Taste of the West Awards. It’s hard to single out a particular favourite but the classic Raspberry jam is always a winner and the Exmoor Pond Weed made with under-ripened green tomatoes and chillies is delicious with some cured meats out in the sunshine!

Chunk of Devon
Chunk of Devon are producers of delicious pies and pasties based in Ottery Stchunk of devon logo Mary and firmly established since 2006. Made using as locally sourced ingredients as possible by a team of passionate ‘hunks’, their pies and pasties have won numerous awards including the controversial Britain’s Best Cornish Pasty in 2009! We love their new addition Spicy Jack pie which is full of nutritious veg, coconut milk and curried spices – we promise you won’t miss the meat with this one!

This is a no means exhaustive list of the fantastic producers we have here in Devon and we are proud to be able to stock their vast array of products. For any more info on these or any of our other suppliers please get in touch!

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