Vegetarian week – Supplier Q&A with Olive’s Kitchen

In the first of our Supplier blogs we spoke to Charlie at Olive’s Kitchen who spared some time to answer some questions for us. 

A small family run business based in Dorset with a real passion for preparing, cooking and supplying great quality hearty food.
We stock a range of their meals which are frozen quality ready meals – they use local products and ingredients and that really shows in the taste. 

As we are promoting Vegetarian week he told us about their most popular vegetarian meals. 

As part of Vegetarian week our ‘Orchardlea Weekly offer’ this week is 10% off the Olive’s Kitchen Vegetarian meals we stock, checkout our facebook post from yesterday for details of the code. 

Q: How long has Olive’s Kitchen been running?

A: 5 years

Q: What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

A: Most – We love the journey from sourcing the ingredients to cooking our delicious meals. Creating something people can enjoy! 

Least – Like all business, of course we have our bad days, but generally speaking it’s a great industry to be a part of.

Q: You ran a Deli before Olive’s Kitchen came about, what was it that made you decide to launch Olive’s Kitchen?

A: We were already producing Olive’s Kitchen whilst in the deli as a small line for our customers.
The demand grew to such an extent that we decided to follow this path. 5 years on, demand is still growing!

Q: Have you seen an increase in your sales during the pandemic?

A: Yes – Significant increase in all areas.  

Q: How have you adapted your business during this past year?

A: We haven’t needed to adapt really, as we were perfectly placed in the market. All it has meant is we need to cook more!

Q: We are promoting Vegetarian week the w/c 10th May, which is your bestselling vegetarian meal?

A: They all sell in quite equal volume. However, the Butternut Squash Lasagne and the Macaroni Cheese are probably just in front.

Q: Have you got any new recipes/products in the pipeline?

Yes – Roasted Vegetable Lasagne, Chicken Korma, Roasted Vegetable Penne Pasta and a Chicken and Mushroom Pie.

Q: Where is your favourite place to eat locally?

A: We love our local pub! Proper pub grub with a really friendly service. Its great to see them back open (and others!)

Q: Is there anything you have learnt from running your own business?

A: Don’t worry about making mistakes, they will happen. Just learn from them and don’t make them again!

Q: Last question, social media is so huge these days and most businesses have some form of Social Media we just wondered out of interest why you don’t currently use Facebook/Instagram etc?

A: Social media is an area of our business that we need to look into and develop. That said, we are not sure that we follow the general perception that social media is essential to survive We do incredibly well from word of mouth and our own personable approach.

If you haven’t tried stocking any of the Olive’s Kitchen range then now is a great time to try – order yours today when placing your order with us.

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Three of the Best Farm Shops to Visit this Spring

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.

THORNES FARM SHOP

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

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

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.

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Should we be eating less meat?

A report published by Waitrose this week has found that a third of Britons have stopped or reduced their meat intake following growing concerns of the impact on our carbon footprint as well as animal welfare standards. One in eight are vegetarian or vegan and a further 21% are ‘flexitarian’, eating a diet mostly consisting of vegetables with occasional meat products. While we love steaks, burgers and bacon butties there is no denying the environmental impact such huge quantities of meat eating has on our planet and simply reducing our intake rather than cutting it out altogether could make a massive difference. We’ve listed a few alternative meat free products below, give them a try and you never know you might be converted!

Chunk-of-Devon-Chunki-Roast-Veg-Pasty.s-450x443Chunk of Devon Roasted Veg Pasty
Based in Ottery St Mary, Chunk of Devon are multi award-winning producers of pies, pasties and savoury snacks made using locally sourced ingredients. Earlier this year they changed their roasted vegetable pasty recipe to make it suitable for vegans. Roasted sweet potato, butternut squash, potato, red onion and herbs combine to make a delicious snack or lunchtime treat. Wrapped in a wholemeal flour pastry and covered in a pea glaze this has real depth of flavour and is suitable for everyone! In March this year they also launched their new goats cheese and butternut squash pie with red onion wrapped in buttery shortcrust pastry which is one of our favourites vegetarian or not.

Squash and Coconut CurrySquash_Curry_3_(1_of_1) 
Lodge Farm Kitchen are producers of gourmet, handmade frozen ready meals based in Ross-on-Wye. Using locally sourced ingredients and prepared by expert chefs their meals are firm favourites with our customers and a wholesome, nutrient rich meal can be ready in minutes. This squash curry is delightfully fragrant with organic butternut squash, coconut, cumin and fresh coriander; just add rice! Lodge Farm’s roasted vegetable lasagne has also become one of our bestsellers, made with courgettes, aubergines, peppers and mushrooms and topped with a bechamel sauce we promise you won’t miss the meat!

115631011_0_640x640Alpro Desserts
A renowned vegan friendly brand, Alpro have been making their soya milk desserts, yogurts and drinks since 1973. Both delicious and naturally lower in fat than their dairy alternatives they offer a variety of flavoured desserts including rich and silky dark chocolate, velvety vanilla, sweet and creamy caramel and smooth milk chocolate. Their milkshake drinks are also available in sweet and refreshing strawberry and luxurious chocolate flavours.

Cheese
The majority of our cheeses are now suitable for vegetarians with only a few exceptions. Traditional cheese making techniques include the use of rennet totawvalleyrange_hra7-n2 separate the curds and whey in a process called coagulation, rennet was traditionally sourced from the stomach of newborn calves. However now it often comes from either fungal/bacterial sources or genetically modified micro-organisms making the cheese suitable for vegetarians. All of our traditional farmhouse cheeses, stilton and most flavoured cheeses are suitable for vegetarians but if in doubt all the information is available on the cheese pages on our website.
http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/cheese/

Small differences in our eating habits can make a huge difference both to our planet and our own individual health. Initiatives such as #MeatFreeMonday are raising awareness and encouraging people to give up meat for just one day a week to help contribute to reducing our carbon footprint. With so many delicious alternatives available why not give it a go?Facebooktwitterinstagram