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Behind the scenes at Rudford Farm’s Country Produce

Tony on the farm with rare breed Dorset Horned Sheep. Photo: Rudford Farms
Tony on the farm with rare breed Dorset Horned Sheep. Photo: Rudford Farms

For decades Derby’s Tony Spacey has dedicated himself to leading some of the county’s best businesses as founder of the Littleover Group including Littleover Apiaries, which has become Europe’s largest producer of honey and Midlands Wild Meat, a specialist venison and game butchers.

Now he is launching new brand Rudford Farm’s Country Produce which will celebrate the best of British produce through as new range of jams, preserves, chutneys and jellies. The new brand, which will also include Midlands Wild Meats, will focus on using the best ingredients from across the country – including much from Tony’s own farm – to create premium products that celebrate British food.

‘We are expanding what we do,’ says Tony. ‘Midlands Wild Meat didn’t fit the range of what we do anymore so we wanted a change and a new look.

‘But it’s also about turning back the clock, farming the land how my grandfather would have done, taking our time to make great products.’

Great British Life: Tony Spacey has launched Rudford Farms to turn back the clock on farming. Photo: Rudford FarmsTony Spacey has launched Rudford Farms to turn back the clock on farming. Photo: Rudford Farms

As well as selling the rare breed meats that used to come under the Midlands Wild Meats banner, Tony and his team will take ingredients grown on his farm and sourced from some of the best suppliers around the country to produce flavours like tomato and onion chutney, cherry jam and sweet apple chutney. The focus will be on creating great tasting premium products for good value prices.

At the heart of Rudford Farm’s Country Produce is that desire to create food in the way it would have been done in generations past. The rare breed animals that graze on Tony’s farm are all given longer, happy lives which in turn creates great tasting meat. In the same way, heritage fruit trees have also been planted which will in time be sold as fruit and used in the Rudfords Farm’s products. So far, nine different varieties of apples, five different pears and three different varieties each of cherry and plum trees have been planted along with two different varieties of medlar and two varieties of quince.

‘For us it’s not, and will never be, about making lots of product quickly to make the most money, it’s about doing it properly,’ says Tony. ‘Our rare breed animals aren’t the type that are favoured commercially because they take far longer, like our Dorset Horn sheep that take 50 per cent longer to mature. But the wait is absolutely worth it.

Great British Life: Heritage fruit trees have been planted to be used in Rudford Farms' new line of jams, chutneys, preserves and jellies. Photo: Rudford FarmsHeritage fruit trees have been planted to be used in Rudford Farms' new line of jams, chutneys, preserves and jellies. Photo: Rudford Farms

‘Things like quince jelly, you don’t see that kind of product around too much but 30 years ago they would have been around far more. Whenever I have spoken about it, people have always been keen to taste it again. There is that feeling of nostalgia and good food from the land.’

But you won’t find these products stacked high on supermarket shelves. They will be available at the Derby shop, where Midlands Wild Meat is located, and online as well as local retailers and delis. Tony also hopes, in time, to supply small artisan businesses across the country.

‘This brand is all about local and supporting independents,’ says Tony. ‘We have had a lot of support from the people of Derby, a place that I love and will always want to have my business located in. I want to be able to supply a premium product but at prices that give value. It’s a way of giving back – it’s something that is important to me.

‘When I started the honey business there were people who thought I was crazy but it’s now the largest producer of honey in Europe. I’m looking forward to sharing these products with our customers and seeing how things grow.’



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