THE Weardale Organic Soup Company began in a small cottage kitchen in the North Pennines, with a headful of ideas and a chopping board piled high with fresh local ingredients.
That was three-and-a-half years ago and now these home-made gluten-free soups made using Artisan production methods have become incredibly popular throughout the region.
Its range of mouthwatering local soups use vegetables produced within 50 miles of the company’s home, Elm Cottage, with the aim of cutting down on food miles.
Many organically certified vegetables are imported, but by producing the Weardale Local Soups the company is able to support local growers who produce good quality vegetables, grown without pesticides, right on the doorstep. As much local produce as possible is used from local organic wholesaler North Country Organics.
The flavours include Cauliflower Cheese Soup, taken from an old Scottish recipe and made using wholegrain honey mustard from Chain Bridge Honey Farm at Horncliffe, near Berwick in Northumberland.
The wholesome and nutritious soup range is now made with local spring-water bottled at source, a further boost to the health benefits of the produce.
Each carton shows a beautiful scenic image of Weardale, including Eastgate, an area hit by the closure of the only large employer in the area, the Lafarge Cement Works.
Last year Christine Peart, the proprietor of Weardale Soup, and her son David had the pleasure of meeting the Countess of Wessex on her visit to the Bowes Museum. The Countess was interested in the fact that the business is a cottage industry and picked up a carton to take a closer look at the cottage image on the label.
Christine also recently visited the northern heat of the Great British Village Show, presented by celebrity chef James Martin. James tasted the pumpkin and coconut soup, congratulated Christine on its taste and recommended it in his new book, The Great British Village Show Cookbook.
Today, production has increased beyond all expectations and a whole new product range has developed in line with customer demand for produce suitable for sufferers of Coeliac Disease and those who are gluten and wheat intolerant. The company is licensed with Coeliac UK and now offers vegetarian gluten-free quiches, cheese and fruit scones and biscuits and cup cakes, free from gluten and wheat.
The bakery range now includes gluten-free muffins, which are a real treat and nothing like the heavy commercially available gluten-free cakes you find in the supermarkets. Why not try the double chop-chip, which is made with a gluten-free flour blend? The recipe took 18 months to perfect and is a closely guarded secret.
You can buy products from The Weardale Organic Soup Company’s Farmers’ Market stall at Newcastle’s Grey’s Monument on February 1, as well as Hexham Farmers Market on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. They also attend Farmers’ Markets in Barnard Castle, Stokesley, Sedgefield and Middleton-in-Teesdale.
Coming next will be gluten-free apple and cherry pies, to be launched at the Wear Valley Food Festival held at Auckland Castle on April 12.
For more information call: (01388) 517384 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.