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17 October, 2018 - 14:24 By Tony Quested

Quadruple success for East of England food and drink companies

Four businesses in the East Anglia region’s food and drink industry are enjoying success with products ranging from gin to snacks.

Just launched is a new London Dry Gin – RELIQUUM –  made in Essex by third generation farmer and fruit grower, Pete Thompson. 

He is passionate about reducing on farm food waste and has set his mind to finding new uses for the fruit grown on his farm that would otherwise rot.  
The London Dry Gin is made with an eau de vie created from the farm’s own apples and with botanicals including Calamondin – an unusual citrus fruit which is also grown on the farm,

Every year 10-16 per cent of fruit and vegetables grown on UK farms is wasted – that’s 22,000-37,000 tones and enough to feed 200,000 people. Thompson is finding new uses for the apples, pears, apricots and plums grown on his farm but which haven’t made the grade required by retailers.

The new gin is made in partnership with Master Distiller, Dr John Walters from the English Spirit Distillery. The brand name comes from Latin and means “All that remains.”

Two other spirits join the Reliquum range: RELIQUUM PLUM a sophisticated spirit of London Dry Gin blended with Lizzie plums to produce a bright sharp spirit with an almond after-taste; and RELIQUUM APRICOT which blends London Dry with tree-ripened apricots for a smooth taste with the distinct aroma of ripe apricots.

The fruit is grown in traditional orchards and left to naturally ripen to develop the fullest flavour. Nothing else is added and nothing taken away.

Thompson says: “We are very proud of this London Dry Gin, but it is only the first step in our journey towards creating a genuine single estate gin, using ingredients entirely sourced from the fields and orchards of our farm, here in Great Oakley on the north eastern tip of coastal Essex.”

The Thompson family have been growing fruit and vegetables for markets, greengrocers and restaurants since 1948. The fields and orchards at Brook Farm near Harwich straddle the ridge that runs down the north eastern tip of Essex. 

They benefit from a maritime climate perfect for growing with the Stour Estuary to the north, the marshes and backwaters of Hamford Water to the south and the North Sea to the East. The combination of light and the mild climate are said to provide ideal conditions for fruit growing.

All the electricity on the farm is either generated on-site or supplied from renewable sources. 

Laura and Robert Strathern of fairfields Farm

Another Essex business – artisan crisp producer, Fairfields Farm – has signed a deal to supply Ocado for the first time. The online supermarket is now stocking Fairfields Farm Adnams Ghost Ship Crisps and its Heat & Eat brand of microwaveable 'hot' crisps.

This is the first time the Colchester-based snack firm has worked with Ocado and it will allow it to reach a whole new demographic of online customers.

“We are very excited to be working with Ocado as it's such a great fit for us. Ocado really appeals to those consumers looking to buy something different and who are interested in independent brands with provenance,” explains Robert Strathern, founder of Fairfields Farm.

Crispin and Lucinda Clay, co-founders of Munchy Seeds

Across in Suffolk, snack brand Munchy Seeds is celebrating a lucrative new contract with multiple retailer Tesco in a deal which will allow it to reach a whole new set of consumers for the first time.

Munchy Seeds has become renowned for its range of healthy and nutritious sweet and savoury seed mixes. Now, as the demand for healthier snacks grows the brand will be available in Tesco stores throughout the UK.

“This is a fantastic new contract for us,” explains Lucinda Clay, co-founder of Munchy Seeds. “We have a huge and very loyal customer base with Sainsbury's and Waitrose, so it will be fantastic to be able to build up a new following with Tesco customers.”

St Peter's Brewery in Suffolk has just signed a deal with leading pie brand, Pukka Pies, to supply the beer for its steak & ale pie. 

Pukka Pies, which was founded in 1963, produces over 180,000 pies a day, with products available in all the major supermarkets.

“This is an exciting new collaboration for us,” says John Hadingham, managing director at St Peter's Brewery. “Pukka Pies is a hugely popular and well-known brand so teaming up with them on their new and improved steak & ale pie is a fantastic opportunity and an excellent string to our bow.”

MD John Haddingham and Maddie Laird at St Peter’s Brewery


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