Warwickshire's food & drink

10:56 17 August 2010

Steve Holley, Amy Sheasby and Roger Alsop

Steve Holley, Amy Sheasby and Roger Alsop

The Game Fair welcomed a host of independent producers from near and far to the British Food Village. Our roving reporters sniffed companies championing the fertile plains of Warwickshire

Steve Holley and Roger Alsop, Napton Water Buffalo, Warwickshire
Steve: Roger is the farmer and I make ice cream from the buffalo milk.
Roger started farming buffalo in 1999 due to the dairy milk quotas and I joined later to develop the ice cream from some of the buffalo milk. The rest of the milk is sold wholesale and we also have a cheese made for us.
It took me about three months to perfect the process of making the ice cream. There is a trick involved but its a closely guarded secret. We produce a unique product and as far as we know no one else makes ice cream completely with buffalo milk.
We sell buffalo meat and dairy products direct from the farm, in a couple of farm shops and Napton Post Office. Water buffalo meat is lower in cholesterol and fat than most other meats.
We went to last years Game Fair and also had an ice cream van and took some buffalos along, but we stuck to just the burgers this year.



Jon Pilling, North, Cotswold Brewery, Shipston-on-Stour
The micro-brewery started in 1999 and we bought it six years ago. We brew 30 different beers, cider and perry. We have three full-time beers, do a seasonal one, a monthly special plus a few in between.
I have been brewing for nearly 25 years and do all the brewing myself. I love the taste and the history of the beers. I initially trained as a chef and then travelled the world, visiting breweries and beer festivals.
We brew different styles of beer and do medieval brewing. One of our beers, Arctic Global Warmer, was just voted one of the worlds best beers at 15 per cent, by Roger Protz, one of the top beer writers.
There are now 12 micro-breweries in Warwickshire and there has been a big boom with them opening all over the country. People like proper ale rather than the mass-produced stuff you wouldnt wash your dog in. They like ales of character.



Peter Taylor, general manager, Hillers Farm Shop, Alcester
The Farm has been on the Ragley estate for more than 80 years. The farm shop has gone from selling just apples, potatoes and the like out of the shed, to a full-time farm shop open seven days a week with a delicatessen, restaurant and garden centre. The Ragley Estate meat is also sold out of the shop, including the game shot on the estate.
It has been in the last 10 years that it has really gone well because everyone wanted to get into farm shop buying and away from the multinationals. It is good quality produce and people know where it is from and can trust its provenance.
We are renowned for soft fruit, strawberries and raspberries as well as Vale of Evesham asparagus. In the delicatessen we have over 150 types of cheese on the cheese counter and many sorts of meats cured on site.
Most of our produce comes from within a five to 10 mile radius of the farm shop and people come from all over the Vale of Evesham to shop with us.
Having the Game Fair here at Ragley Hall should help increase visitor numbers to Ragley and we will hopefully benefit from that knock-on effect.

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