Mellow Meadow, Carnforth Soup Makers
PUBLISHED: 22:41 12 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:48 20 February 2013
Two young women in Carnforth, Lancashire are creating the latest stir in the soup world. <br/>Charlotte Taylor reports
SOUP, like milk stout and Horlicks, is not a drink you immediately associate with the youth of today. There was a time when it was made by your granny and drunk by your grandpa and if it was tomato his moustache developed a lovely red tinge.
Suddenly, soup is trendy and it's appearing on more and more menus and designer broth is big on supermarket shelves.
Now, two bright young women based just outside Carnforth have recognised this trend and set up their very own soup kitchen, making high quality recipes from locally-sourced ingredients under the brand name Mellow Meadow. It has already attracted attention from Booths and Waitrose.
Leanne Duerden and Gillian Sedgley met while studying for a degree at Myerscough College in Bilsborrow and soon realised they shared a passion for fresh food and farming.
'We both love our food and we have been brought up to appreciate great, traditional, home-cooked meals,' says Leanne, who is 28 and originally from Lytham St Annes.
With a talent in the kitchen and a keen interest in food, a career in catering seemed logical. But, with a huge range of ingredients available and an ever increasing rise in haute cuisine, why make soup?
'We began making ready meals and then our soup became so popular that we decided to concentrate on that,' says Gillian, aged 27, from Burscough.
The current range of soups includes broccoli and Lancashire cheese and butterbean, tomato and pesto and sauces range from damson and caramelised onion to ale and orange.
'The main thing we wanted to do was support the local farmers and growers, particularly because Gillian's family are farmers,' says Leanne. 'They always had crops in abundance so we used to make soups out of it. And then one day we just thought why shouldn't we? Soup is good for you and it is a great way to use fresh ingredients and it really fills you up.'
Inevitably, for two people who shared such strong values, they soon decided to start a business together, and Mellow Meadow Ltd was born. Their range now includes a wide variety of homemade, locally sourced soups and cooking sauces made solely by the girls following their special family recipes.
'Most of the recipes are traditional ones passed down from our mothers and grandmothers which make them even more special, like our Classic Tomato soup, which is Gillian's Grandma's special recipe,' says Leanne.
The girls source their ingredients from as many local farms and producers as possible. 'We display the food-miles on our website so our customers can see just how far each ingredient has travelled,' says Gillian. 'A lot of the vegetables come from my parents farm at Tarlscough Hall, and every other ingredient we have tried and tasted ensuring it is the best around.'
On top of their traditional family recipes the girls focus on seasonal produce to make up new and tasty recipes. 'We spend a lot of time in the kitchen trying things out, usually on our family and friends who are our trusted tasting panel. They let us know what they like and are probably our most demanding critics!' says Leanne.
The hard work has certainly paid off as the girls were recently presented with a Gold Great Taste award. Says Gillian: 'It makes us really proud when people come up and say that they enjoyed the soup and it tasted homemade but better!'
Mellow Meadow soups and sauces are available in local stores around Lancashire. They can be found in Lime Tree Stores in Holme and Westmorland Farm Shops. More recently the girls were approached by Asda and Morrisons. 'We hope to expand our range in the future, but for the moment we are taking baby steps, as there are still just the two of us,' says Leanne.
'We keep it simple and give it our all, from preparing and cooking the ingredients right down to delivering them,' says Gillian. 'We wouldn't have it any other way, as it has our name on it and we have our reputation to keep up - after all, we are The Soup Girls!'
For more information visit www.mellowmeadow.co.uk