Recently I popped over to visit Richard and Charlotte, the owners of Rose Farm Products. The first thing that hit me was the delicious smell! (3 of their cooks were busy in their kitchen producing the day’s batches). All their products are made by hand in small batch, open pans. They produce a vast range of Chutneys, Pickles, Relishes and Jams! And because of this special visit, I now know the difference between these different methods of preserving! Do you know the difference between a chutney, and pickle and a relish? If not, read on to find out!

Just 4 miles from our Dairy in Cheddar their production site can be found down a narrow country lane with exquisite views across the green fields towards the Mendip Hills. The view from the office window is enviable.

These days Rose Farm HQ specialises in make over 100 traditional chutneys, pickles, sauces, jams, and dressings. Ingredients are carefully selected to produce many local and family recipes, and this is evident.

Richard started the business in 1985. He had previously been a Poultry Farmer but struggled to sell his small sized eggs, apparently nobody wants small eggs! To solve this problem, he started pickling them himself and began selling them to local pubs. Soon the pub landlords wanted pickled onions too and it was this that spurred Richard on to extend the ‘pickled’ range; instead of buying these products in, he decided to make them himself.

Charlotte, Richard’s daughter joined in 2003 and has helped to grow the business bringing to it her retail experience – including her graduate training scheme at Harrods no less! She was keen to protect her grandmother’s recipe for Harvest Chutney which they still produce today, and it is delicious. It is their best-selling product and having now registered the name, Charlotte has ensured nobody else in the country can produce a ‘Harvest Chutney’.

After our chat, Charlotte and Richard took me into their ‘kitchen’ where their small team of cooks were attending the day’s batches, busily stirring pans, filling jars or positioning labels. Everything is done by hand with all the attention to detail this brings with it. I really enjoyed my tour and more than that, enjoyed spending time with Richard and Charlotte. We had many things in common; both small family businesses, making small batch high quality products, by hand, relying on a small, dedicated team of lovely staff who are conscientious, consistent but also fun!

So finally, for those of you who are curious, Chutneys are sweet, they contain softer ingredients having been cooked for longer than Pickles – which are made with more chunky, harder vegetables and contain more vinegar than Chutneys. Relishes however are cooked for much longer than the other two which results in a sweet, more sticky consistency. We sell many of their PRESERVES both in our shop in Cheddar Gorge and online through our website – all of which complement our traditional cheddar beautifully.

Thank you, Richard and Charlotte.