Welcome to Summer: Wimbledon (with new roof on number one court), Cricket World Cup, Women’s football and netball World Cups, and Golf galore. We have had the Tour de Yorkshire with all sorts of wet weather (great excitement in our village with the school children out to cheer, and a mock-up of an ancient Ferriby Bronze Age boat, lots of bikes and bunting) unfortunately the TV coverage showed them turning to go down a steep hill into the village, promptly cut for an ad break, and the next we saw were the participants cycling into the next village! The children were very disappointed not to be seen!
So that is the topical bit. I could now write about the non-Brexit event, but that is another disappointment and such a waste of everyone’s energy, money and time. I await the appointment of a new Prime Minister without any real enthusiasm – whoever it is will still have a difficult job.
On to more positive matters. We have launched our Christmas brochure and our Christmas show vans have been up and down the country. I hope that you have enjoyed seeing the products in real life and hope it’s been a worthwhile exercise. The buying team have put together another interesting selection, including innovative and new items, as well as those traditional favourites that you have great confidence in. We appreciate and thank those of you who have complimented us on the choices and we have already booked record levels of orders (and I write this at the end of May). Thank you to all who have already placed orders and to those of you who may still be deliberating, we would be delighted with both new and additional orders just as early as you can. Brexit will not make planning deliveries any easier or cheaper, but we intend to be ahead of the game.
Before I move on, I promised to report on a range of accounts that I have recently visited. The extended premises at Loch Leven’s Larder are highly impressive, as are those at Gloagburn Farm Shop near Perth. The splendid displays at House of Bruar are amazing, and the new look Larners of Holt in Norfolk is stunning. They are all different, but they have in common an enthusiastic management team and knowledgeable staff…….and all do a good cappuccino!
On to new products that you’ll find in the following pages. Atkins and Potts have used their grey cells to push another trend, that of Veganism, by devising a range of tasty vegan sauces good for wraps, sandwiches or salads and a new range of Inspired Dining dressings too. More vegan dishes from the world of Gordon Rhodes, gluten free as well, these “V and easy” products include a too good to be Stew, a veggie curry and Chilli non Carne. A couple of giants caught my eye, Giant couscous from Al’Fez and the Greek Kitchen have some giant beans to try! After these try a Mr Fitzpatrick cordial and quench your thirst with the Lemon Yuzu and Tumeric, I tried it at their stand at the Farm Shop & Deli show earlier in the year and it appears very versatile.
Peter’s Yard have a lovely new range of flatbreads to go with everything, and then for sweeter taste, have a look at Montezumas chocolate range, including the quaintly named Sea Dog with Lime and Dark Chocolate Cheeky with Lemon and Coconut.
Those who loved the Hider Christmas range of premium chocolate coated products have their wishes answered. They are now available year round, in mini gold boxes, with favourites like dark chocolate ginger and salted caramel chocolate almonds. Davina Steel produces “the world’s best gluten free bread”, no compromise, no chemicals and 3 flavoured Focaccia breads, why not try them all? Finally if you want a gluten free Oat drink, try that produced by Glebe Farm, who also produce ready to mix bread and bakery products.
Crops around the world are now planted, with Almonds and Apricots developing on the trees, but crop predictions are always difficult. The blooms looked good in California with plenty of water for a change, but there is unease about politics in the States and also in the Middle East. In addition, trade disagreements with China and the gradual collapse of confidence in the £ are likely to make any crop expensive over here. One little news item that I saw this week had a headline “Sicilian police plan helicopter to watch over the pistachio crop!” These green pistachios mature in September and such is their value that the Italian criminal groups allegedly steal and sell on this highly precious nut.
So fingers crossed on all fronts, enjoy the summer and please get that Christmas order in early!