We want to share some of our favourite independent founders and friends powering brilliant food companies across London and the UK.
DUCHESS FARM | Shop Online
Abi and Oscar
Abi and Oscar farm just outside London at Hertfordshire's Duchess Farms. Home to the bright yellow fields producing Duchess Oil, a 100% British rapeseed oil. They are two of our favourite farmers, championing the move towards growing, harvesting and milling carefully considered crops in a responsible way. They recently ran a successful crowdfund for machines to clean and mill their impressive fields of heritage wheat for beautiful wholegrain flours.
Duchess Farm is the site of px+, a celebration of passionate hospitality which is where we first met Oscar and his farming partner, Abi, a scientist and Blue Hill at Stone Barns alumni. Their dedication to advocating conscious and responsible farming methods in new generation farmers is admirable and we look forward to working with their British Rapeseed Oil in many of our new limited edition as well as signature granola recipes.
CROWN & QUEUE MEATS | Shop Online
Adrienne is the founder of Crown and Queue London Cured Meats. She meticulously sources her primary product from select farms where she takes time to know the farmers to ensure her rigorous ethical standards are met at every point along the chain to the point at which the meats are cured at a nearby arch in Bermondsey.
Adrienne's meats are sold in numerous independent shops (most recently adorning the shelves at Fortnum and Mason) but you can find her cured meats most readily served in London's top restaurants. The C&Q curing room is open to public on Saturday mornings at Spa Terminus where you can try their best-selling Devil's Mortar and Mother's Ruin and hear the stories that inspired their creation. Adrienne has been incredibly kind and supportive since we moved into Spa Terminus, once out of the blue, bringing over a beautiful little cake when we were having a difficult day as well as taking time out to help structure bakery safety policies; a gem of a neighbour as both a physical neighbour (just in the next row of arches) as well as real neighbourly spirit. Adrienne is a fantastic, genuinely conscious producer.
SINGLE VARIETY JAM | Shop Online
Nicola is the founder of Single Variety Jam. Based in London, I've known Nicola since she started her company and enjoyed watching its growth from doing market stalls together to pallet-load jam deliveries. Her chilli jams have been a firm favourite with quality cheesemongers and delis for a while but my personal favourite has and always will be the limited edition Alphonso Mango Jam (I know I am not alone!)
The Ben Starav Blackcurrant is another excellent one - what I love about the collection is that each jam champions the flavour and characteristics of a single fruit variety. So simple, pure and delicious. She orders the chillis specifically grown for her months in advance and has sourced some exceptional varieties. I hope that she will develop wholesale of her jams because I think they have a place on every cafe breakfast bar. Head to the Single Variety website to see the full range of jams plus seasonal bundles (I noticed an award-winning marmalade has made an appearance).
BUTTER NUT OF LONDON | Shop Online
Zoe is the muscle behind Butter Nut of London which now has a permanent residency at Borough Market where you can taste her whole range of nut butter blends. From classic Peanut Butter to Cashew, Maple Turmeric, each jar is blended with premium nuts and spices for a really high quality product.
Zoe and I used to have stalls at the same market in Primrose Hill which is how we first got to know each other. My favourite pearl of wisdom was when, one day, despairing at customers' price comparison of cheap supermarket granolas, she casually explained that our products are a reflection of how everyone is paid a fair price as well as assurance of quality all the way down the production chain - well said! She has been a fantastic and motivating friend as well as brilliantly inspiring to see the road down which she has traveled with her nut butters - they have recently been available at the V&A gift shop after their Food: Bigger Than The Plate exhibition, as well as Borough Market and select independent retailers.
LUCOCOA CHOCOLATE | Shop Online
Lucocoa chocolate is sold in various shops (e.g. Wholefoods and the Bluebird Restaurant) and numerous independents and cafes (e.g. Origin Coffee) and hotel mini bars (e.g. Nobu). Ama sources the best chocolate beans from around the world and brings them to the UK where she roasts to her specific flavour profile, cracks, winnows, tempers and sets the chocolate - it takes 3 days to make each bar - a true labour of love. Lucocoa chocolate uses coconut sugar rather than refined white sugar as well as Lucuma. I love the 'Natural Blonde' and the Haiti beans. Tip: Lucocoa also makes hot chocolate. I've enjoyed making it on the hob with a tiny bit of coconut sugar to taste and sometimes a little cream; its very rich and full of flavour.
URBAN CORDIAL | Shop Online
Natasha is the force behind Urban Cordial which makes fantastic fruit cordials from British (mainly surplus) fruits. We first met whilst both renting the same production kitchen at the start of our companies, we both took the overnight shifts and arguably re-scented the whole of Bethnal Green with bubbling apple juice and toasting oats. I'd always know when Natasha was there as I could smell it down the road and still nothing beats the memory of her smiling face and fruit splattered apron offering me a warm cup of pure pear juice bubbling away in her brat pans at 1am as I walked in to start a shift.
Natasha spent years selling Urban Cordial at farmers markets and driving around British farms collecting strawberries, apples and more. Often I would get an excited call about her latest collection of soft fruits and how good the next batch would be. Natasha's cordial journey began at her allotment and quickly grew from passion to career and having undergone a big re-brand last year, her beautiful bottles are now found across the UK in food halls as Selfridges and restaurants such as The Ledbury and multisite Bill's as well as having a beautiful new bottle collaboration with The National Trust, sold at all of their lands. Natasha is excellent, and Urban Cordial and its incredible growth is an honest representation of her excellent-ness. We are proud to sell her delicious Elderflower Cordial at the bakery.
THE PICKLE HOUSE | Shop Online
Florence and I first met at a Hackney half marathon breakfast where she was re-fuelling runners with unforgettable Bloody Mary a few years ago, now a cult bottle on top food shop shelves. The Pickle House key products are the original Bloody Mary Mix containing a secret recipe of herbs, spices and all important pickle juice and also the classic thick glass vessel of pure Pickle Juice for when you need the extra shot, inspired by American's picklebacks.
One of 'House & Garden' magazine's 'Must Haves' (I agree) The Pickle House's delicious bloody mary mix is sold at some of the best Food Halls (e.g. Harvey Nichols) and served at numerous restaurants (e.g. Hawkswmoor). Honestly, I recommend getting a case of 6 bloody mary mix bottles for any event as it can be served with a splash of quality vodka or equally as beautifully with large rocks of ice and slices of lemon as an alcohol-free alternative. a stunning drink complete with crushed black pepper and spices, and you can add an olive garnish and wedge of cucumber, sticks of celery and tabasco for those who like an extra kick. This is next level if you're a fan of tomato juice treats when flying. P.S. If you ever meet Florence, her second name is 'Cherro' like Renault (not Cherrolt) and her company is now based in Suffolk.
BOROUGH BROTH CO. | Shop Online
Ros's company, Borough Broth Co. is an example of quality; this has given it serious stability through health fads tides. Her broths are made from organically reared livestock from British farms, slow cooked as is traditional to wring out every last nutrient and mineral famously available in slowly cooking this type of superb broth. We first met at a food market where she promised me (might have forgotten so here is my opportunity to remind) a vegetarian broth... UPDATE 26/7/2020: Ros kindly sent me vegetarian Miso Broth during Covid Lockdown and I can report that they were stunning.
Albeit vegetarian, I hugely respect companies which value consciously reared livestock such as Crown & Queue and Borough Broth Co. and take a pragmatic and conscious approach to the handling of farm animals. Their enthusiastic involvement in farming practices for conscious livestock rearing is remarkable and we need responsible, passionate and educated producers like Ros and Adrienne in all avenues of food production. Ros regularly presents at farming and food production conferences.
Borough Broth Co. is available all over the UK; at Coombe Farm organic, Harrods, Sainsburys and Farmdrop. They can be drunk alone or added to vegetables and meats for a hearty soup.