10 of the best food producers from the Ribble Valley
PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 February 2016
The Ribble Valley and good food go hand in hand. We reveal ten of the best local food producers. Emma Mayoh reports
Mrs Dowson’s Ice Cream
Amanda and Eric Dowson run this dairy farm in Clayton-le-Dale and diversified in 2001. It started with just a few pots of vanilla ice cream. Today, it is a much bigger operation – they have become one of the largest quality ice cream manufacturers in the north west. And there are many more flavours to choose from now, too. They were one of the first ice cream producers to incorporate Lancashire cheese, black pudding and pear drops into their range and unusual flavours including vegetable ice cream have continued alongside more classic choices.
It has also evolved into a tourist attraction. The visitor centre reopens at the end of this month, they also host a Lambing Live event during lambing season and the site is also home to Scare Kingdom and Horror Camp Live.
Exchange Coffee Company
This well known coffee roaster and tea merchant has been in operation for the past 30 years. There are shops in Clitheroe and Blackburn and a cappuccino bar and wholesale roasting warehouse also in Blackburn but their coffees and teas are enjoyed around the country. Their secret is creating the freshest coffee they can and you can often see them being roasted on the premises.
Their coffees and teas have won many awards over the years, including 32 Great Taste Awards for many of their brews including their French roast, Sikkim Temi Indian tea and their Brazilian Bruzzi Rainforest Alliance coffee.
Gazegill Organic Farm
This organic farm in Rimington has been under the dutiful care of the Robinson family for almost 500 years. Current custodians Emma Robinson and Ian O’Reilly are still influenced by how their ancestors farmed today. Together, as well as looking after the land, they have a dairy herd of English Shorthorns as well as Oxford Sandy and Black pigs. They also keep Hampshire Downs sheep. They sell meat direct from the farm shop as well as organic and raw milk from their own dairy. They also sell raw cheese, cream, milk and other goods.
The farm also plays host to a number of different projects and takes food education seriously. Gazegill has an approved farm visit centre and hosts more than 250 school visit a year focussed sustainable agriculture, healthy lifestyle and learning about environment and farming. The Education Centre is also the governing body for their CIC Care farm, a project that champions day activities for adults with mental health and learning difficulties. The core activity is a growing project that produces herbs and edible flowers, these are sold to sustain the project and all the fresh herbs used in our sausages are grown by the Care Farm.
The Procter family have been making cheese in Chipping since the 1930s. Today, Tim Procter, fourth generation of the family, runs the company with wife Susan, mum Jane and sister, Helen. The lush pastures from their small farms produce the best milk for their cheeses which are made in a purpose built factory.
As well as a traditional Farmhouse Lancashire, they also make continental cheeses, blue cheeses, cheddars and whey butter.
Queen of Hearts Cookies
These pretty hand decorated biscuits made in Worston are almost too pretty to eat. But you will find it difficult to resist the delicious designs from retired police inspector, Andrew Hobson and former bio-chemist Sarah Lawrenson. The pair spend their days creating cookies designed to impress even the most discerning with everything from colourful Alice in Wonderland creations to chilli-laced biscuits that pack a punch. They also bake biscuits for high profile clients including fashion labels, Ted Baker and Orla Kiely as well as Liberty of London and for producers working on the 50 Shades of Grey film.
Beltin Good Beef
Croasdale House Farm in Slaidburn has been home for Malcolm and Marty Handley since 1983. It was in 1990 they took on the tenancy and started Beltin Good Beef. The pair look after their herd of pedigree Belted Galloways as well as Swaledale and Lleyn sheep. The beef, which is sold frozen from a new meat store near the farmhouse, can be bought as individual rib eye joints, beef joints or briskets, fillet sirloin or rump steak.
While you’re there you can take a walk around the farm where you can spot Kune Kune pigs, Dutch rabbits, hens and ducks. There are also footpaths and nature trails to follow.
Cowman’s Famous Sausage Shop in Castle Street, Clitheroe, has one of the north’s biggest ranges of bangers with up to 70 varieties from pork and walnut and Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Pork to lamb, mint and rosemary and curried beef. The business, owned by Cliff Cowburn, has picked up a host of awards. The pork comes from outdoor reared pigs and there’s no added fat and no gristle.
Chipping Farm Shop
This relatively new addition to this pretty village has been set up in the former Robinson’s Butchers Shop. Local Sue Charnley, who also farms with husband Keith, was keen to offer people living in Chipping something special to do their shopping. Inside, you’ll find some of the best Lancashire produce as well as their own Aberdeen Angus beef, prime Bowland lamb, a wide range of sausages including wild boar from nearby Bowland Wild Boar Animal Park and chicken from Johnson and Swarbrick in Goosnargh.
D Byrne & Co
Below King Street in Clitheroe are a series of small catacombs that contain every drinker’s dream - thousands of bottles of red, white, rose and fizz. Bottles from all over the world pack wooden cases and cram walls. People who love wine come here. There has been a business on this site at least since the 1870s. Denis Byrne was born in Manchester in 1871 to an Irish surgeon and a Lancashire mother, who came from a family of corn dealers and cotton manufacturers. In his father’s will, Denis received enough to buy a share in the business of a Clitheroe merchant called Mr Thistlethwaite. Denis eventually bought him out and D. Byrne & Co was born.
From 1890 the business supplied most of the townspeople and local farmers with groceries, animal feeds and a few wines and spirits. Deliveries were often made across the fells by horse and cart. The groceries that were the cornerstone of the business disappeared in the 1970s, replaced by wine and spirits but not much else has changed. Today, the multi award winning merchant stocks thousands of bottles of wine and it is the must visit place for discerning drinkers.
Berkin’s Deli, Barrow
This deli, located at The Eagle at Barrow, is brimming with goodies. Here you can buy their multi-award winning pork sausages as well as dry cured bacon and 35-day dry aged Bowland beef. There is also a great selection of wines, store cupboard treats, olives and freshly prepared ready meals as well as hampers and gifts.
The deli is the brainchild of Kevin Berkins, who began working in the family business several decades ago. He expanded it with shops in Nelson and dining pubs in Fence and The Eagle at Barrow. Only ever using traceable locally sourced produce, Kevin has turned sausage making into an art form and has won many awards.