The butcher, baker and cupcake maker... preserving countryside landscapes, lifestyles and livelihoods

29th November 2012

Foodie fans and galloping gourmets are in for a real treat in what is fast becoming one of Britain’s ‘greenest’ Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, thanks to a ‘Buy Local’ scheme aimed at retaining a centuries-old way of life.

Head to the hills of Shropshire and you’ll find traditional food and drink lovingly created from locally sourced ingredients that not only offer tasty treats, but also protect landscapes, lifestyles and livelihoods in this picturesque Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

More than 100 local businesses have signed up for the Shropshire Hills Sustainable Business Scheme which champions a ‘Buy Local’ message to both locals and visitors, while every business also pledges to do their own bit to reduce their impact on the environment.

Members are mostly the smaller cottage industries that have traditionally helped to support the local economy and the scheme encourages them to work more closely together and in more sustainable ways to help them survive in an increasingly uncertain economy.

And for visitors looking for traditional local food and drink, the scheme offers a tempting menu of sustainably produced Shropshire Hills goodies… with everything from the butcher, baker and cupcake maker!

Strefford Hall Farm Shop at Craven Arms, a working farm in the footholds of the Shropshire Hills, offers quality meat from traditionally farmed animals from their 350 acres that are home to cattle, sheep, pigs, free-range laying hens and geese.
Outside you may spot free-range chickens strutting around in the field adjacent to the car park while inside the Farm Shop you can watch the meat being prepared and the sausages being made. (www.streffordhallfarmshop.co.uk)

Tradition meets innovation at S C Price & Sons, an award-winning family bakery in Ludlow with a long tradition of producing traditional breads, cakes and pastries.  One of Rick Stein's 'Food Heroes', Price's is a craft baker using few automated processes and relying instead on traditional methods of hand-moulding each individual loaf.

Bread is handmade, the old-fashioned way - with a long fermentation process, quality flour, and no flour improvers or artificial enhancers.  But they also like coming up with new creations too, as baker Peter Cook says: "We reserve the right to come up with something new at a moment's notice." (www.pricesthebakers.co.uk)

Something to drink? The award-winning The White Horse Inn is a traditional real ale pub in the small town of Clun, which not only brews its own beer, but also bakes its own bread!

Landlord Jack Limond loves his real ale and together with his Duty Manager Matt Bird - who shares his enthusiasm – they run micro-brewery, Clun Brewery.  Up to seven real ales and ciders can be offer and Jack and Matt hold the Cask Marque, an independent award for pubs serving great quality cask ale.  The White Horse Inn has also been listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide continually since 2002. (www.whi-clun.co.uk)

If that’s not enough for you, The Three Tuns Inn is a historic pub and brewery that has been the 'beating heart' of the small market town of Bishop's Castle since 1642 – and where 70% of all beer sales are real ales.

Refurbished and enlarged, it still maintains the spirit of the original pub serving an array of real ales from the adjoining brewery. Food is also a serious part of the business with a modern eclectic menu using locally sourced, fresh ingredients from many award-winning suppliers. (www.thethreetunsinn.co.uk)

For a sweet treat, among the many other local food producers committed to using local produce and doing their bit for the environment is Carys Cakes at The Maltings in Clun, which makes homemade cakes using local ingredients such as Whinberries.

Along with running the tearooms in Clun, Carys can also to be found at the Craven Arms Farmers' Market, on the first Saturday of each month, and at Bishops Castle Farmers' Market on the third Saturday. (www.caryscakes.com)
For full details about all of the members of the Shropshire Hills Sustainable Business Scheme, visit www.shropshirehills-buylocal.co.uk.

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