Ludlow Food Festival meets Black Mountain Smokery
We had the pleasure of getting to know Jo from Black Mountains Smokery in the next in our Meet the Producer blog series. With only 5 weeks to go until the Ludlow Food Festival, we thought you would like to know a little bit more about our wonderful producers….
Jo Carthew (Smokey Jo)
Co-Owner and Director of Black Mountains Smokery with my husband Jonathan (Smokey!)
In three words describe your business:
Oak Smoked Foods
Tell us in 140 characters what readers can expect when they find you at the Ludlow Food Festival?
Traditionally smoked fish, meats & cheese to try and buy, a gorgeous selection of gourmet gifts & hampers all served up with friendly serving advice & recipe ideas.
How did the business start?
The doors of Black Mountains Smokery opened in February 1996 after several months of product development. Then the real process of building a business began. As a family run business we have strived to maintain our original commitment, "making really good food even better" and serving it up with good old fashioned service.
We have developed a fresh, delicious and sustainable range of traditional smoked salmon, fish, meats, duck, poultry and cheese delivered to you with friendly and reliable service. From frighteningly small beginnings, nearly 20 years on, our local artisan food produces a healthy turnover, servicing both the local rural community and a very loyal, ever increasing customer base further afield. Alongside fantastic support from both wholesale and retail customers, we can boast a long list of Food Awards as well as some wonderful press coverage and testimonials.
It’s all hands on deck! The Carthews — Jonathan, Jo, Hetta (22) and Hugh (20) - are often to be seen at food festivals and fairs working together. In addition to the family we have two loyal employees in production, Ryan & Mark and this year we welcome Sally to the team for her Student Placement in Industry Year from Harper Adams University. We also handpick an enthusiastic bunch of seasonal helpers, (most often family or friends in their gap year), to help us through the mad autumn and run up to Christmas.
We are really proud to be part of what is now a vibrant and passionate local food community in the Brecon Beacons. From producers to plate this area is home to a wealth of fabulous food as well as several of the best food festivals in the land!
What do you like making the most? Have you got a favourite product/dish?
I love entertaining but I am always busy – so I love using our smoked produce which is healthy, ready to eat and lovely to share!
Our Oak Roasted Salmon, garnished and simply served at room temperature with favourite salads (Ottolenghi is my current favourite!), minted new potatoes and a dill cream sauce.
What is your best selling product/dish? Why do you think this is?
Our Smoked Gressingham Duck breast has won more than 12 food awards in 20 years. It is rich yet delicate in flavour and perfect served thinly sliced in a salad or canape with anything fruity. After classic smoked salmon this is the number one favourite for our mail order customers because it is so easy and economical to use and totally scrumptious.
With all that has been achieved in your career so far, what are you most proud of?
I am really proud of our smokery business which celebrates 21 years in February. Starting from scratch we have built up an ever increasing loyal following and a consistently excellent product range served up with friendly reliable service. This business has brought up our children!
What are you looking forward to most about the Ludlow Food Festival?
I love the atmosphere at Ludlow Food Fest – there is a real buzz with live music, a great variety of food stalls and shows and visitors genuinely interested in food. I only wish I could escape from my stall for long enough to attend one the presentations! It’s great in all weather's but simply brilliant when the sun shines!
Quick Fire Get To Know You Questions:
Favourite Colour? Green
Favourite Food? Smoked Salmon
Favourite Restaurant? The Felin Fach Griffin
Favourite place to visit in Shropshire? Ludlow
Make sure you visit Black Mountains Smokery at the Festival this year. You can also find them online at http://www.smoked-foods.co.uk
Interview by Louise Welsby