Winner of Best Retail Product at the EDP Food Awards 2010
2011 GREAT TASTE GOLD STARS AWARDED!
‘Taste the Summer!’
The Woodberry Farm brand of very, very, reduced sugar conserves (85% berry fruit with only 15% added sugar) was developed, in 2009, as a diversification for Wood Farm, a small family-run berry farm in Wicklewood, Norfolk. Peter Dickie, an EU agronomist, produced top quality strawberries, raspberries, blackberries etc. for almost twenty years, selling to local shops, wholesalers and, in particular, farmers’ markets throughout Norfolk.
Taste the summer not the sugar!
When deciding, in 2009, to create a product for surplus berry fruit, strong environmental principles were applied. Using only home-grown fruit would guarantee provenance and farming methods. Minimum added sugar would maximise healthiness and versatility. A straightforward ‘jam’ was ruled out for its excessive sugar content: jams have to contain 40% or more sugar and most have a lot more! After much experimentation, the most successful and consistent blend used only 15% added sugar (grape and apple juice having been ruled out for their overpowering taste). Minimising the sugar content allowed the fruit flavours to dominate so that an amazing blast of summer aromas bursts out of the jars, leading to Woodberry Farm’s tagline: ‘taste the summer not the sugar’.
‘It’s great to receive so much positive feedback from our market customers’ says Peter, ‘Watching the ‘I don’t eat jam’ sceptics take their first taste is an interesting sight! Possibly expecting a sweet, rather jelly-like texture, they taste and utter a low appreciative sound…half between ‘wow’ and ‘mmm’!’
A jam or a compote?
Intriguingly a sort of unique hybrid has been created…a jampote! It tastes like a really fruity compote and looks like a softly set jam, proving to be truly versatile so that it can be used both to spread on toast or scones, satisfying the traditional customer, and to spoon onto porridge, ice cream, yoghurt, extending to a more continental usage. In fact many customers confess to eating it straight from the jar! The carbohydrate levels are also so low (21-26gm per 100gm) that the product has been judged suitable for consumers on controlled diets including diabetics.
In its three years of production, Woodberry Farm’s conserve has won the 2010 EDP Best Retail Product in Norfolk 2010 and a bursary to appear at MasterChef Live, as well as being runner–up in a national Country Living/Waitrose competition. The small family team at Woodberry Farm were delighted that 2011 Great Taste gold stars were awarded to both the flavours entered: Strawberry and Gooseberry (a ruby coloured blend of sweet strawberry and freshly tart gooseberries) and Four Berry, a deep maroon blend of the farm’s key berries: strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and red gooseberry. Additional flavours in the current range are Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Loganberry, Blackberry and Plum and a spicy Woodberry chutney whose blackberry base -notes brilliantly complement local sausages, strong cheeses, venison and lamb.
Making and marketing: a family affair
The conserves have been produced for three years by Peter and Joan’s daughter, Catriona, who regularly returns home from London based film work to create the product in small batches. Catriona also designed the much admired new ‘Woodberry Bird’ logo and her brother, Ewan, a digital advertising producer, transferred the sketches into a vektor format, adding the distinctive vibrant colours. In the new logo, the Woodberry bird carries his single strawberry prize, joyfully flying across the banners and jar labels, symbolising the scents of summer fields.
All change at Woodberry Farm
In fact, the Woodberry bird is now truly flying to new pastures in North Norfolk. With Joan’s retirement from a county council role and Catriona’s increasing London commitments, a major decision was made in 2011 to sell the fruit farm and ‘downsize’ but to maintain the Woodberry Farm brand and range. Joan will now be chief conserve chef and Peter will be able to devote more time to markets and marketing. Look out for this colourful logo and fruit packed conserve on the shelves of Norfolk delicatessens and at farmers’ markets throughout the year, where you can try some for yourself!
We hope you enjoy browsing through our website and that you come and find us at a market or a shop near you!