Launched in September 2010, Old Sleningford Preserves has been making lovely jams, chutneys, relishes, cordials as well as apple juice and cider - all from the produce growing on or around the farm. Rachel aims to make interesting, unusual and traditional preserves and has set it up as a Community Supported Agriculture Scheme (CSA). Local people are members and commit to purchasing a minimum amount of preserves each month or every other month. Delivery is by tandem bicycle and trailer, with Martin helping Rachel doing the pedalling.
The idea came about when there was too much produce coming out of the forest garden to eat fresh and rather than let it go to waste, Rachel started making a few jams and chutneys to serve with meals on the courses. Attendees wanted to buy them, so she started producing more and they were a success. In order to have a regular income to cover the running costs of a workshop at the farm, the idea of a CSA was formed and now customers from surrounding villages benefit from a suprise selection of something sweet, something savoury and a drink each or every other month.
The preserves are also sold at the farm and at the Stables Gallery for anyone who visits on a course, group visit or workday. Rachel also attends local village shows and fayres but has made it a policy not to sell via third parties so she can keep the connection between the farm produce, her as the producer and her customers.
The Walled Garden Scheme in Ripon have been very generous with providing apples for juice and cider from their orchard that would nornally go to waste. In 2010, Rachel started making apple juice for the Walled Garden to sell to their customers and in 2011 the range was extended to include apple based preserves. The Walled Garden range will continue to expand in 2012 to use their plums, pears and any other fruit and vegetables that would normally go to waste. In the same vein, Rachel also make apple juice and cider from the apples at Newby Hall and Lotherton Hall who then sell them in their cafes.
Visit www.oldsleningfordpreserves.co.uk for more information about the scheme, the preserve selection and recipe ideas.