Award-Winning Producer Gears Up to Launch New Products at Region’s Top Food Festival
A spectacular walled garden that produces fruit and vegetables for a range of jams, chutneys and pickles has already won accolades and new products are in development for launch at a high profile food festival this month.
Tucked away in the beautiful Flintshire countryside with stunning views over to the Dee estuary lies the 18th century Mostyn Kitchen Garden. Spanning two and a half acres within the grounds of Mostyn Hall, the restored walled garden yields a wide variety of seasonal produce.
Independent of the Estate, Mostyn Kitchen Garden is run as a social enterprise headed up by Phil Handley and his wife, Debbie. Just over a year ago Debbie, who is also general manager of the pan-Wales Community Food Co-operative Sustainability Project, decided to turn her passion for making jams and chutneys for family and friends into a business.
With initial support from Cywain/Menter a Busnes Debbie worked with the Llangefni Food Tech Centre in Anglesey to test and develop her products. Since starting production, Mostyn Kitchen Garden has been awarded the highest food rating score of 5 and won the B2C (Business Supporting Communities) Business & Community Partnership Award 2015. It was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Delicious Magazine Producer Awards.
Debbie now supplies a host of local retailers including Lesters Farm Shop, The Olive Tree deli, Afonwen Craft Centre, Swans Farm Shop, the community run Siop Pwll Glas and the shop at Loggerheads Country Park. Last year, Mostyn Kitchen
She said: “It has been an amazing journey. We’re now self-funding and we have a core product range of eight jams and chutneys as well as a limited editions range of six products.
“We’re really excited to be attending Mold Food & Drink Festival where we will be launching two new products, our Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce and an Apple & Plum Jelly.
“The tomatoes are grown in the original glasshouses within the walled garden and our basil is home grown too. It’s a simple sauce but it’s packed full of flavour without any added sugar. The Apple & Plum Jelly is again made with our own fruit and has a deliciously rich flavour..
“We’ll be offering tastings on our stand at the Festival and it will be a fantastic opportunity for us to get instant feedback from customers. We’ll be bringing plenty of our regular products too!”
All the main ingredients for the products, including the onions for the chutneys, are produced within the garden and everything is grown to organic principles and according to the seasons. Each product is hand made in small batches in the newly converted kitchen.
Debbie added: “We recognise that increasingly food is an important influence on people’s lives and their decision to live in or to visit Wales. People are more discerning and take an interest in where their food comes from and what happens on its journey to their plate. We want to build a relationship with our volunteers and customers and in this way ensure that there is a good quality supply of local food to cater for everyone’s purse and taste.”
Mold Food & Drink Festival will be held on the 17th and 18th September in New Street Car Park. John Les Tomos, Festival Chairman, said: “We’re delighted that Mostyn Kitchen Garden, a local grower and food producer, is attending the Festival and taking the opportunity to launch new products there. This is exactly what we want to encourage and it’s great that we have so many local food businesses attending this year. We’re expecting over 13,000 visitors so it really is a fantastic platform for local producers.”
More than 130 food and drink producers are attending the two-day festival and there will be celebrity chef cookery demos by Nick Nairn and Graham Tinsley plus a children’s cookery school, a large food court, and live music. A free park and ride service will be operating from Theatr Clwyd into Mold town centre.