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Producer of the Month: Nicky and Ian Dorward, Limes Farm, Northamptonshire

Producer of the Month: Nicky and Ian Dorward, Limes Farm, Northamptonshire

Producer of the Month: Nicky and Ian Dorward, Limes Farm, Northamptonshire

In terms of food miles you could not get fewer than at Limes Farm. Nicky and Ian Dorward believe that a farm shop should be just that - a place where almost all of the products are made on the farm. 

Limes Farm has been in the Deeley family for almost 200 years and the farm itself can be traced back through the Farthinghoe village history books as far as 1066. Trained chef Nicky and Ian both run Limes Farm alongside Nicky's father, John Deeley, who now in his seventies, is still a very active member of the farm and shares his knowledge of traditional practices to the next generation. 

In the shop and tearoom nearly all the produce is from local suppliers and producers. Homemade produce includes delicious jams and chutneys, sweet and savoury tarts and cakes, homemade meat pies and other ‘ready to go’ homemade meals. When the Dorwards were renovating the building which is now the shop they discovered the old and original bread oven, so it seems bread has been made at Limes Farm since medieval times. 

One of Nicky and Ian's most inspiring initiatives is their School Meal service. They provide some of their local primary schools with daily hot meals that are made from home-grown vegetables; farm reared or locally sourced meat and eggs from their chickens. The ingredients they can't grow or create themselves they source from local heroes. For example they use flour from Wessex Mill in Oxfordshire to make their pizza dough. There are three menus which are rotated each term. Accompanying their school meals is the ‘Clean Plate Award’ - a handy booklet that children have stamped when they eat their meal. This helps parents to know whether their child has eaten and encourage the children to collect more stamps. 

This month Limes Farm will not only be stocking freshly picked cherries to buy and take home but in support of British cherries they will be planting two cherry trees. For Love British Food 2012 they will be serving their Best of British BBQ on Sat 28th and Sat 4th of August, using a selection of the best British meat, with a range of exciting salads and homemade breads. Traditional British recipes will be on the tearoom menu throughout the fortnight and some specially baked British classics will be available to buy.

  • Why do you do what you do? 
We love our farm, we love creating beautiful food and we love it when people come and tell us how much they enjoyed something we have spent time and love creating. 

  • What achievement are you most proud of? 
Acquiring all of our School Meals business through word of mouth and positive referrals. 

  • What is your most memorable moment? 
On 31st October 2010 we opened our Farm Shop. On that first day a man walked in who was not from the area and bought some Limes Farm carrots. That first customer did not know that it had taken 4 long years and lots of sweat and tears to get to the point where we could sell him a simple bunch of carrots. When he left we both jumped for joy and wept because we had at least sold something… 

  • If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you do to encourage more people to eat British food? 
Put no VAT on any food or drink primarily sourced or produced in Britain. 

  • What is your favourite food and why? 
Beef Wellington. British Beef, ensconced in homemade pastry and gravy how can you not like it. 

  • What are your predictions for the future of British food? 
Massive price rises as China becomes more competitive and grows its desire for Western food. 

  • If you were an advertising executive what slogan would you use to promote British food? 
Be the best; buy the best; buy British 

  • Best budget tip? 

Go for quality over quantity and plan your menus before you go shopping. As a small quality producer we have grown from strength to strength. 

  • What's on the menu this evening? 
Now that we have thought of it… some homemade Beef Wellington. 

  • How can people get hold of your produce? or at our shop in Farthinghoe, NN13 5PB