A debut in the grown-up world of retail

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As we’ve already discussed, from tiny acorns mighty oaks doth grow, and in the grub market finding your first retail outlet is an essential part of this arboreal odyssey.

Everyone needs to forge partnerships – Louis Noilly had Claudius Prat, Thomas Huntley had George Palmer, Anne Harvey had James Nichols and, in our case, our partner in crime is the rather splendid Ullacombe Farm Shop & Barn Café where, from this week, you’ll be able to bag yourself a sample of our jammy gems and fruity fripperies.

We’re starting off with a salvo of sweet-toothed specials that includes our popular strawberry preserve (as used by our chums at B&B to the stars Yarner House and mentioned in despatches by none other than the Sunday Telegraph), a rather luscious lemon curd, a rich, sticky pear conserve and our new but nevertheless well received cheeky chilli jelly.

For a limited time we’re tempting potential new devotees to the Greedy Pig’s Pantry brand with some keen pricing, so if you’re in the area then get down there and stock-up today! For those of you in more far-flung corners of the county/country/globe we’re still working on the website shop, so bear with us – we’re getting there. Albeit slowly!

And our survey said…

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Very good, apparently.

Actually, there’s no point in trying to be unduly cool and dispassionate about this one – it’s a massive deal for us!

Whilst we hoped that the way in which we were running our kitchen was appropriate for a professional purveyor of chompables, the proof of the pudding was always going to be in the eating and so, when the nice lady from the local Food Standards Agency office turned up this morning, it’s safe to say that were at least mildly interested in what she had to say about the general levels of hygiene at Greedy Pig HQ.

Quite rightly, no foodie business can operate without the go-ahead of its local food safety authority, and so gaining approval was pretty critical. At the same time though, to our minds, this one was not only a technical hoop through which we were obliged to jump but also a real landmark in the evolution of the Greedy Pig’s Pantry story which would take us from being a couple of folks with a rather vague and fluffy pipe-dream about growing stuff and selling stuff to actually becoming a bona fide food producer and retailer… if only at rather very modest level.

So, the 400 gallons of multipurpose cleaner with bleach, 72 miles of Tork cleaning cloth and thirty or so man-hours of domestic slave labour must have done the trick – turns out we had nothing to worry about. In all honesty our kitchen was hardly a midden in the first place; however, after recent efforts, one could quite reasonably eat one’s dinner off the floor round these parts. Luckily though, there’s no need, as we’ve rather cleverly decided to put various bits of our culinary repertoire into bottles & jars for you to sample on a surface of your choice.

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you up to date with the miscellany of foodie events that we get out to this summer – we’ll also have the shop up and running soon for mail-order sales. Watch this (dazzlingly clean & highly professional) space!

Jams “R” Us

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After a frantic few days of preparation, last Sunday saw us heading off for our first ever market, with the Greedy Pig’s Pantry logo emblazoned upon a whole host of jams, curds, pickles, tinctures & liqueurs.

Given that neither of us has any great experience in flogging home-made wares to unsuspecting punters at country house Christmas fairs, the first hour or so was a little nervy, with the two of us constantly rearranging the serried assemblage of conserves and generally dithering about the place looking awkward. After a while the penny finally dropped that we were acting more than a little ‘Edward & Tubbs Tattsyrup‘ and so we opted for a tag-team approach for the rest of the day. This strategy was clearly the way forward as we then went on to sell a huge amount of produce, clearing over 90% of the stock we took with us (and therefore 90% of the stock we have to sell – full stop).

Apart from gathering-in piles of filthy lucre, the thing that struck me as most heartening was the response which we managed to elicit from the folks visiting our little stand. In almost every case we received entirely positive noises – concerning the brand itself, the logo and label artwork, about the choice of jars & bottles we’d opted for and, last but not least, the quality of the jams, pickles & tinctures we were trying-out on willing guinea pigs throughout the day. As far as maiden voyages go this one was pretty much the perfect event – and a surprisingly pleasant way to spend a chilly December Sunday.

Certainly, the whole experience has had a profound impact upon our general attitudes toward selling Greedy Pig’s Pantry products via the market stall, and so the new year will undoubtedly find us scouring local papers for signs of artisan food fairs, farmers markets, spring fayres and the like.

Turns out we’re more competent retailers than we’d anticipated. We even managed to get the card machine to work!

Fame at last!

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A while since our last posting, primarily as things have been a quiet on the piggy front since batch 1 found themselves being relocated to the freezer; however, that’s not to say that we’ve been entirely idle when it comes to launching the Greedy Pig’s Pantry brand and getting a real, live, proper company structure up-and-running. How very grown-up of us!

Along with all the tiresome Companies House/HMRC paperwork that we’ve been wading through, we’ve also been experimenting with further additions to our pickles & preserves repertoire, with Diane cooking-up a storm in anticipation of our first experience of selling to the general public at a Christmas fair in early December. The house has been filled with tummy-rumbling wafts of gently simmering fruits, vinegars and spices in recent days, as the first batch of Greedy Pig’s Pantry Yuletide Apple Pickle is cooked, bottled and stored away to mature in time for the big day. We’ll be following this with a range of jams and curds, and we’re also currently noodling the idea of adding hand-made seasonal sweets (choccy-coated cinder toffee, marzipan bonbons, cinnamon dusted shortbreads and so forth) to the existing bill-of-fayre.

Whilst we rather nervously prepare ourselves for this first sortie into the mysterious world of artisanal retail, things are looking dazzlingly bright as far as our existing outlets are concerned (or, more accurately, outlet – in the singular) with our friends at Yarner House having recently fed our Greedy Pig’s Pantry Sumptuous Strawberry Preserve to a roving reporter from that esteemed organ The Daily Torygraph – presumably with positive results, as we managed a mention in despatches, as you can see by clicking on the image above or the link [here].

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Tiny acorns and all that; however, we’re pretty bowled-over with the concept of getting our nascent foodie venture mentioned in the national press, so let’s hope that it’s the first of many positive plaudits. Exciting times here on Dartmoor and there’s plenty more to come!