Ouse Valley Foods
PRODUCER: Ouse Valley Foods, East Sussex
PRODUCT: Ouse Valley Elderflower Jelly
REGION: London and the South East
CATEGORY: From the Earth (Artisan)
WHAT THEY DO
Ouse Valley Foods is the passion project of creative chef Julian Warrender. Launched in 2004, the brand produces a range of artisan jellies, jams, chutneys, pickles and relishes, which (true to Julian’s vision) are all handmade. Fruits and vegetables are hand-cut, spices roasted and ground from whole and jars filled by hand, to ensure quality and consistency.
The majority of Ouse Valley Foods’ ingredients are sourced from local suppliers or foraged produce according to the season. Julian is known to arrive at the office at 8am following an early morning foraging expedition, and the elderflowers in their jelly are one of these handpicked ingredients. Leveller gooseberries, a regional heritage crop that features on a nearby village sign, come from the local Woods family who are working to revive this fruit.
Ouse Valley’s Elderflower Jelly is a soft set preserve, based on a fruit stock made with English bramley apples from Maynard’s Fruit Farm in East Sussex, then enhanced with elderflower.
Besides supporting local growers, Julian employs five local people in the kitchen with two in the office, and she presides over the Ouse Valley stall at Lewes farmers’ market herself. The team describe her as the “personality behind the product”, and customers enjoy buying direct from her. The business’s delivery van also personally takes products to local customers.
Ouse Valley also supports local charity Dandelion Time, donating the proceeds from their carrier bags to projects for children who have been victims of neglect.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
The judges praised this “excellent entry” for painting a thorough picture of the company and its ethos, highlighting the detailed information on sourcing of fruits from the hedgerows and specific suppliers. The “sense of a food company with real local roots” won Ouse Valley Foods a place on the shortlist.
VISIT THE WEBSITE: ousevalleyfoods.com