We are Richard and Mandy of Lane Cottage Produce. Thirteen years ago we moved from Hereford to a derelict, 14 acre smallholding on the borders of Herefordshire and Shropshire, just 10 miles from Ludlow.
Richard has spent all his life in horticulture and I spent many years running restaurants. In 2011 we decided to try and make a living from our land and began growing vegetables to sell at market stalls and from our van in our local villages. Richard put up one poly-tunnel and we started growing as many different salad leaves as we could to make an interesting mix.
Although the vegetables were popular, the response to the salad leaves was incredible and we just kept on building poly-tunnels to keep up with demand. We’re on number 14 now!
The way our food is produced is of immense importance to us and although it’s much harder to grow naturally we use no pesticides. We use only natural fertilizers and pest control. We laboriously hand-weed. The leaves are picked by local staff who come back to us each season. Once picked the leaves are chilled and packed and delivered the next day in our van. Being so fresh it’s great to be able to give our salad a 10 day shelf-life. (Most salad is sold in gas-injected bags which then deteriorates once opened.)
For the past seven years, we have sold directly to shops and restaurants. We supply independent food shops, farmshops and restaurants throughout Herefordshire and Shropshire. We also courier further afield to London and to customers scattered all over the country who have bought our salad whilst visiting the area and want to be able to eat it again once they return home.
Our salad leaves are, of course, still growing despite the pandemic so although there is no restaurant trade, at present, we are still supplying virtually all of our regular shops.
We are ridiculously passionate about our product, probably to an unhealthy degree and there is no life/work balance to speak of! Farming is a 24/7 kind of livelihood but to be outside in this glorious countryside — even in bad weather — we wouldn’t change it for the world!
To find a full list of stockists, visit The Lane Cottage website