A family run specialist herb company near Thirsk are celebrating a successful 25 year partnership this month with Cranswick.
Herbs Unlimited based at Sandhutton began supplying the Hull firm with fresh parsley for their innovative new gourmet sausage range after a chance meeting between founder Alison Dodd and Cranswick’s then Managing Director Bernard Hoggarth.
Alison said: “We started talking and later that day he got in touch to ask if I would grow herbs for Cranswick’s new gourmet sausage business. Our first order was for 50kg of fresh parsley – which seemed like a huge amount back then!”
Founded in 1975, Cranswick started life as a group of farmers forming a co-operative and feeding their pigs with cereals grown on their own farms, before expanding into food production on the 1980’s and supplying fresh pork products to supermarkets and restaurants. The Cranswick Gourmet Sausage Company was later established in 1995 and were the first of their type to be brought to the market at that time.
Marcus Hoggarth MD at Cranswick Gourmet Sausage Co. said: “Herbs Unlimited have been one of our key suppliers since we started the Cranswick Gourmet Sausage Co. They have grown alongside our business, adapting to industry changes and consumer tastes and continue to provide us with a variety of great quality, locally grown fresh herbs every day, which provide a major point of difference in the sausages we produce.”
Herbs Unlimited began in 1993 after Alison, who was working as a Cordon Bleu Chef in her family restaurant at the time, struggled to source the quality and variety of herbs needed for her menus. Seeing a gap in the market to supply the catering industry and at a time when fresh herbs weren’t widely available in supermarkets, she began growing herbs at her father’s farm in Wath near Ripon and delivering to independent restaurants in the region.
Alison continues: “We went on to grow chives, sage and marjoram, all wonderful herbs which bring fantastic flavour to sausages and we are still supplying them today. We are super proud of our relationship with Cranswick and what we have achieved together’.
The company has since gone from strength to strength and after forming a partnership with local farmer Trevor Bosomworth, production was moved to their current site in 2002 where a new pack house was built and over 2 acres of polytunnels and greenhouses were erected alongside acres of outside grown produce.
Today their team, headed by Alison’s son Philip Dodd who became Managing Director in 2018 are continually expanding their range to keep up with trends and demand and are one of the main suppliers of fresh processed herbs, salads and kale to the food industry, supplying washed and chopped herbs as well as an extended range including chillies, springs onions and sweet potatoes amongst others.
Philip said: “We’re extremely proud of our partnership with Cranswick and their dedication to using fresh quality ingredients, they really are a fantastic company to work with and we’re looking forward to the future and being part of the exciting NPD projects they have in the pipeline.
“As a company we will continue to adapt with consumer tastes and supplier requirements, and we are already seeing a greater interest from not just chefs but our processors for our speciality herbs like our Garlic chives, Lemon Verbena and award winning Yorkshire Wasabi as customers are looking for something different’.
For more information on their range of award winning products visit www.herbsunlimited.co.uk