PRODUCER: Simply Seasonal, Worcestershire
PRODUCT: Hayley’s Spiced Carrot Chutney and Hayley’s Beetroot and Horseradish Chutney
REGION: East and West Midlands
CATEGORY: From the Earth (Artisan)
WHAT THEY DO
Friends Hayley and Wendy set up artisan preserves company Simply Seasonal in 2011. They’d both previously grown their own fruits and vegetables, so when establishing their business the pair were committed to using locally sourced, seasonal produce.
Based in the Vale of Evesham, which the pair describe as an “incredible horticultural jewel”, Simply Seasonal purchase produce direct from local growers, ensuring proper provenance. Having established fruitful relationships with many producers in the past five years, these fresh fruits and vegetables can be transformed from field to jar within 24 hours.
Sustainable practice is at the centre of Simply Seasonal, with the majority of this bounty being sourced from within 30 miles of the company’s base. Hayley and Wendy say, “We endeavour to ensure that our business treads lightly on our beautiful surroundings”. White sugar comes from UK beets to keep food miles low, the majority of food waste produced is organic and composted, and jars used are made in the UK from 27% recycled glass. The business also support local environmental group Transition Evesham Vale.
These measures enhance the quality of the products themselves, which “rely on the great taste of the fruit and vegetables”, say the duo, “with the spices added to complement rather than hide the flavours”. Chutneys are developed using minimum vinegar and sugar, and all jellies are made with 66g of fruit per 100g, creating a “soft set jam with a real hit of fruitiness”.
Concerned that the art of seasonal eating is being lost, Simply Seasonal aims to bridge the challenges this way of life presents to the modern consumer. Working by the motto “adapt and overcome”, Hayley and Wendy even take deliveries to customers personally to this end. The pair don’t insist on selling products by the case, so more people can buy through small suppliers and enjoy products that “champion local growers and encourage people to think about the seasons”.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
The judges were impressed with the local, ethical and seasonal aspects of the business, and its high quality ingredients’ links to the land. The panel thought Hayley and Wendy’s Spiced Carrot Chutney and Beetroot and Horseradish Chutney sounded very appealing, earning the company two spots on this year’s shortlist
VISIT THE WEBSITE: simplyseasonal.co.uk