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Pop-up chefs’ kitchen showcases local Yorkshire produce 

Yorkshire-based fresh herb and speciality grower Herbs Unlimited hosted a pop-up food festival on its farm, attracting 75 chefs and food manufacturers from across the UK.

Based at Sandhutton, near Thirsk, the company grows herbs, salads, edible flowers and speciality produce for customers in the hospitality, food manufacturing and wholesale sectors nationwide. 

The festival showcased the vast range of speciality herbs and edible flowers available, as well as their versatility on the day’s specially created menu.

Guest chefs Nick Brown, development chef at the Michelin starred Black Swan at Oldstead, and Josh Whitehead, head chef at the Harewood Food and Drink Project, demonstrated innovative ways of using lovage and lemon herbs. Forager Chris Bax of ‘Taste the Wild’ provided welcome refreshments from his new venture Bax Botanics and guests were served Verbena and Sea Buckthorn alcoholic-free spirits as they arrived.

They joined award-winning chef Stephanie Moon who created a special taster menu of delicious dishes using Herbs Unlimited’s speciality herbs.

The menu included Herb Crusted Beef Fillet Carpaccio with steamed Nasturtium dumpling, Harewood Mulberries & Lemon frozen Parfait with Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm & Oxalis and Pineapple BBQ Stick, sugared Angelica & Sweet Cicely (full menu below together with selection of recipes). 

Philip Dodd, managing director of Herbs Unlimited said: “We’re lucky enough to be based in a region blessed with a wealth of fantastic food producers and by collaborating with some of Yorkshire’s top chefs, we wanted to showcase the very best of local produce and demonstrate how herbs can be the star of the dish.

“We are passionate about our wide range of herbs offering the versatility to inspire food manufacturers and chefs from across the country to bring something new to their products and menus.”

At a time when plant-based diets are gaining in popularity, health-conscious consumers are keen to enjoy nutritious flavours in their dishes provided by premium fresh herbs.

Philip said: “In a highly competitive sector, standing still is never an option and we continue to invest in the business and to demonstrate our commitment to growing produce which meets high standards for food safety, quality and the protection of the environment. To that end, we are delighted to have been awarded the M&S Select Farm Standard – a rigorous accreditation which enables us to supply food manufacturers supplying into M&S.”

Innovation and sustainability are key to Herb Unlimited’s success and this summer the company will introduce a new range of more environmentally-friendly packaging to reduce the quantity of plastic used in the packing of its fresh herbs and salads. Its new film packaging uses 16% less plastic per pack of produce.

Philip added: “The continuing uncertainty around Brexit also continues to fuel interest in our herbs and edible flowers from food manufacturers and processors keen to secure the supply chain by sourcing from the UK and we can see this with the increase of food processing companies attending with their NPD teams this year.”

Founded in 1992, Herbs Unlimited was established by former chef Alison Dodd. The company produces herbs and edible flowers on its 100-acre farm and operates its own fleet of chilled delivery vans to distribute its products throughout the country.

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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