In February 2011 mother and daughter Cheryll and Collette Crewe started looking for the perfect product to sell on their stall at Farmers Markets. With over eight years experience of food retailing and markets they felt they needed to consider the economic climate and create a guilt free food treat that offered great value for money without compromising on ingredients. It needed to be familiar, comforting and very British....the Solution, of course, was pies!
The business also had to become a true family business where everyone and everything could play a part from the honey bees, to the chickens to Dave's (Cheryll's husband) cider!
Thus, Elm Tree Farm: Creative Foods was born, and Collette and Cheryll began honing their baking skills whilst researching and perfecting pie fillings. Pasties, pizza and ready meals were added to the product range, along with honey from Dave's beekeeping. The chickens provided the eggs for glazing the pies, and Dave's home made cider was included into the Porky Pear Pie recipe. Steve (Collette's partner) designed a logo, took charge of the marketing and helped with the pot washing. Whilst Collette sourced Organic meat and cheese from fellow market traders and farmers
With the help of some friends the business was officially launched at the Builth Wells Spring Garden Festival in May 2011, the two day event was a sell out and things were looking positive. In June, Collette and Cheryll decided to enter some of their pies into The Great British Pie Awards with the hope of receiving feedback from the experts to help with product development. A few days later they received the outstanding news that the three pies entered had received a Gold, Silver & Bronze award, with over 600 entries and against some very big and established pie producers, it was a phenomenal achievement.
Things moved pretty quickly from there. The news of a newly established family business receiving three National Awards for three pies in just three months attracted a lot of media attention, three definitely was the Magic Number! It was decided that Elm Tree Farm: Creative Foods was a bit of a mouthful and struggled to fit on a business card, so it was shortened to Elm Tree Foods. The ready meals were shelved for a later date and the focus became Pies, Pasties and Pizza....the 3 P's.
Dave was gently asked to vacate his best honey shed and it was converted into a purpose built commercial kitchen, a website was needed and some lovely friends offered to help, business cards were ordered sporting the new slick name and off they went. As the news spread, orders grew and wholesale was demanded. Long days became long nights with everyone involved and eventually it was decided that equipment was the solution. Collette and Steve's dream of a bathroom that wasn't forty years old was shelved and pastry mixers and ovens were purchased, not quite as lovely but very useful.
So, seven months on from concept and the pies have a growing fan base, Cheryll and Collette have mastered and appreciate their new equipment, Dave still mourns his lost honey shed but enjoys making his pie cider which is now in great demand. As the business and the workload grew Steve resigned from his Monday to Friday job to join the 'Piedom' where currently it seems "pies wait for no man". There are many exciting things in the pipeline but they're just too secret to share yet, but the future is looking bright.
Thanks to family, friends and even neighbours its been a whirlwind first year with so much more to come...and that is the story of how Elm Tree Foods came to be.