Throughout the Summer we have been visiting our lovely suppliers to get to know a little bit more about what they do and how they do it!
Kicking off with Step and Stone! Step and Stone is a bakery that exclusively takes on young people with learning disabilities, helping to develop their skills and confidence so they can eventually move into employment. It was set up by Jane Kippax and Jane Chong, like-minded friends who met through being mothers of children with Down Syndrome. They're a community interest company, so all their profits are ploughed straight back into the bakery.
They have won an array of awards for their heavenly flatbreads and we joined the team to help make some of their rosemary and sea salt batches.
Each person works at their own station - from measuring out and mixing the ingredients to passing them through the roller machine (trickier than how it sounds!) We were so in awe of how the bakery was set up and the incredible young people working there.
We took a sunny trip to Cheddar with our Boxlocal kiddos and visited the lovely John and Katherine at Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company - the only producer of cheddar left in the village of Cheddar!
As a family-owned, independent small artisan cheesemaker, they have earned accolades around the globe and their cheese have been rated as some of the best Cheddars in the world.
Their cheddar cheese straws are one of our bestsellers - taste them and you'll know why!
We loved hearing the story about how they were first created. Katherine used to come home with all the offcuts of cheese and one day she decided to bake them into cheese straws.
They became so popular so quickly that soon enough she was making huge batches of them at home. We loved the image of Katherine making huge numbers at home with her children around!
The wonderful ladies at Choco Loco showed us around their chocolate factory in BS3. Emily was once a one-man band but has now expanded taking on 3 of her closest friends to take on the huge increase in demand of her iconic chocolate. We stock their awesome message bars which are so popular with our customers!
We watched on as Laura individually inserted all of the lettering (made from white chocolate fondant) on to the freshly made bars. Take a look below for some mouthwatering visuals.
We also got to catch up with the lovely Nate and Paige at Padg Made.
Padg was set up when Nate was put on furlough - an illustrator by trade, the Padg range of candles and soaps are all handmade and designed in-house. Their gorgeously vibrant and uplifting products have been so popular, it has now become a full-time venture! We love to see how this start-up has flourished during what has been an incredibly difficult time for small businesses.
What we also love about Padg is that they decided early on that they wanted the things they make to have an extra purpose and be a vehicle for positive change in the local environment. To do this they include a small amount of wild flower seeds with all their products and actively encourage all our customers to start their own pollinator havens at home. Just ingenious!
We were also lucky enough to squeeze in a cheeky visit with Harry - the GingerBeard behind GingerBeard Preserves, where he showed us his huge array of award-winning sauces, chutneys, jams (the list goes on!)
What we have loved throughout our visits is hearing all the backstories of these incredible independent suppliers and their journeys from start-up to expansion. The passion and love that goes into these products - you can really feel and taste the difference!