Suffolk is famous for its food. It is also remarkable for the number of young people involved in its production. They are in the forefront of our highly successful local food industry, some winning prodigious national food awards to prove it! Their expertise, inventiveness and energy have done much to put Suffolk on a national good food map.
They are all exceptionally bright and determined, introducing new ideas to their businesses and to the festival itself. So, we have brought them together, forming a Young Producers Group. Their lively discussions have provided the festival with many new ideas.
Most work in a family business, generally on a farm, and they have often rebranded and updated their parents’ enterprise. Although they meet each other at events such as the Festival, there is seldom time to exchange information. The Group gives them the opportunity to do this.
You can meet them all at the Festival on their stands or contact them through their websites.
The Groups Mission statement:
The Suffolk Young Producers seek to collectively advance the profile of Suffolk Food from field to fork. We offer support to fellow members and new start-ups, sharing knowledge and experience and promoting fellow businesses
Here they are with some of their comments –
Alder Tree Ltd – well-known for its fruit cream ices, made on the Hardingham fruit farm at Creeting St Mary and which are based on a family recipe. They have won many national awards, including 30 Great Taste Awards. Stephany returned to the farm from consultancy in 2007 to focus entirely on this part of the business. She says the value of working in a family business is ‘flexibility, support and belief in you.’ www.alder-tree.co.uk.
The Cake Shop Bakery Woodbridge – founded in 1946, it is run by 3rd generation baker David Wright with his four sisters, making hand-crafted bread and cakes. They won ITV’s Best Bakery award in 2014. David says 'The link between all really good food producers in Suffolk is that we put so much time and effort into our products – and this is an important reason for our popularity locally and nationally.’
Fen Farm Dairy - is a family farm in the Waveney Valley. With his parents, Jonathan Crickmore and his wife Dulcie have developed an expanding business, selling raw milk from their Montbeliarde and Friesian cows which can be bought from their farm’s roadside dispenser. They also make a renowned Brie cheese from raw milk, Baron Bigod Brie. It is the only one of it’s type produced in the UK.
Henrietta Inman Pâtissière – a new business in Great Glemham making exceptionally high quality patisserie out of local ingredients wherever possible, often using fruit, vegetables and flowers from neighbouring gardens. Henrietta says that ‘as my business is new, the Group will be useful and enable me to turn to other members for advice.’ -www.henriettainman.co.uk
Kenton Hall Estate – Emily and Lucy McVeigh run the farming enterprise together, producing beef from the family’s Longhorn cattle with onsite butchery, demonstration kitchen and purpose-built Longhorn burger van. ‘The Group is a fantastic platform to showcase the younger generation’s ideas and give them a voice. We are starting out on the Suffolk food scene and the Group will offer invaluable support, providing us with advice when needed, helping us to grow our brand and connect with others championing the same ethos.’ www.kentonhallestate.co.uk.
Lane Farm Country Food – Rebecca Whitehead joined her parents’ farm at Brundish after university. Their prize-winning pork products are made from their own pigs. In 2014 Lane Farm was the East of England Co-operative Society’s 2014 Producer of the Year. Rebecca has computerised the business, introduced social media and helped rebrand it. ‘I cannot think of anything else I would rather do.’ She also says that ‘the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is a brilliant opportunity for local producers to get together and show customers what Suffolk has to offer. It is a wonderful way of educating the next generation…The Group will spur us all on to help each other and offer support to any other young producers wanting to start up.’ www.lanefarm.co.uk.
Marriage’s the Master Millers - founded in 1824 in Chelmsford. They use wheat from nearby farms but also from Suffolk, producing a wide range of speciality, organic and traditional stoneground flours. Hannah Marriage worked in a global PR agency before joining her family business in 2009 and is responsible for marketing. Marriage’s home baking flours have won over 30 Great Taste Awards, and they also supply bakeries across Suffolk and beyond.
She says, ‘The Young Producers Group is a great forum in which to share business ideas and experiences in a supportive environment with like-minded people of a similar age who are also involved in the local region’s food industry.’ www.flour.co.uk
Marybelle Dairy – East Suffolk dairy farm with award-winning dairy products, including Gold Carbon charter and Supreme Champion Great Taste Award 2013 for their Greek-style yoghurt. Katherine Manning works with her parents and brother James Strachan, improving communications and customer data. ‘I wanted to be involved in producing good quality local food and help sustain the family dairy farms left in East Anglia.’ www.marybelle.co.uk
Newbourne Farm Shop – Penny Green is the 4th generation of growers. She opened the farm shop at her parents’ market garden and sells their own and other local fruit and vegetables. Her stall won the best exhibit prize at the 2012 Festival. ‘I’ve grown up on our farm at Newbourne and I’ve loved being involved ever since I can remember. It is so helpful speaking to other producers who are in similar situations to myself and everyone is really happy to help.’ www.newbournefarmshop.co.uk
Plough & Sail Pub Snape Maltings - run since 2012 by twin brothers Alex and Oliver Burnside who previously worked in renowned local restaurants. They specialise in local seasonal food. ‘We are lucky to live in a county that has great produce and so many talented individuals who really push the boundaries of cooking and service. The Young Producer Group gives us an insight into trends and provides us with a community of like-minded people.’
Pump Street Bakery – opened at Orford in 2010 by Chris Brennan and his daughter Joanna who had trained as a speech and language therapist. Using local flours, they produce a variety of hand–made loaves (specialising in sourdough) and pastries and also make a unique artisan chocolate. They won the BBC Best Food Producer Award in 2012. ‘The Young Producers Group will enable people from a wide range of different businesses which share commonalities to share experiences, support each other and grow. The formation of the Group is representative of the support the Festival gives to nurturing businesses and the community spirit that is characteristic of the Festival and the Suffolk food world as a whole.’ www.pumpstreetbakery.com.
If you are a young food producer in Suffolk (or across the county border in Essex, Cambridge or Norfolk) and would like to join the Young Producer Group, please contact the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival organiser Jess Brown at email@example.com.
Caroline Cranbrook, President, Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival