This International Women’s Day we’re shining a light on the inspiring women improving our food system, deliciously. Here are the stories of eight of our producers – from organic pig farmers and picklers, to oil pressers and award-winning peanut butterers – who’ve worked against the odds to bring you the best produce and are loving every minute of it.
A snapshot of a few of our female producers – farming, pressing, pickling and preparing delicious things and fixing the food chain in the process. Clockwise from left-right: Abi of Papi’s Pickles (on the right), Pip of Pip & Nut, Adrienne of Crown & Queue, Rowie of Purton House Organics, Hayley of Pig & Hay, Natasha of The Urban Cordial Company, Kylee of Newton & Pott, Marianna of Olivelology.
Abi Ramanan, Papi’s Pickles
Entrepreneur and campaigner Abi has founded not one, but two food social enterprises in London. This woman has a big heart – her first business, Papi’s Pickles provides authentic South Indian and Sri Lankan food using the best organic ingredients, and works closely with unemployed women from these communities in the UK. Her second, DayOld, in London’s first food surplus boxscheme where all profits go towards tackling UK child hunger. Abi’s a maverick when it comes to great food and inspiring social change – check out her Ted Talk, it’s inspiring stuff.
Rowie Meers, Purton House Organics
Wiltshire organic farmer Rowie lives for ethical farming and agriculture. Juggling a home life with three daughters alongside her vegetable, pig and cattle farm and farmshop, Rowie is dedicated to the organic way of life and complete traceability. Managing a small organic farm on your own isn’t easy, but Rowie’s strength, belief in family farming and buzz for growing has kept her going – here’s to an incredible woman!
Pippa Murray, Pip & Nut
Pip loved making her own delicious, health-packed nut butters but hated the fact that you couldn’t find a supermarket alternative that wasn’t full of hidden nasties. So she donned an apron, bought a powerful blender, and Pip & Nut was born! After beating off stiff competition to win the chance to live rent-free in a shed for three months and develop a business idea, Pip quit her job, got stuck in and has since gone on to secure investment of £120,000 via Crowdfunding. Pretty soon she needed a bigger blender, because as it turned out, we couldn’t get enough of the stuff! Pip & Nut butters are now stocked by over 170 stockists; Pip believes that persistence is the key to her success!
Natasha Steele, The Urban Cordial Company
Natasha made her first bottles of cordial from an Elder tree by her allotment. Working for a consulting firm at the time as a creative outlet to escape her boredom, she found herself foraging for more fruits in London, with bemused passers by observing as she shook apple trees to get the juiciest fruit from the top of the tree. Using “sixty per cent ‘saved’ fruits that would otherwise be wasted because they don’t meet supermarket standards”, she stumbled into a farmer’s market with her first batches of cordials. When her entire stock of hundreds of bottles was sold over just a few weekends, what started as a fun idea suddenly felt like a viable venture.
Adrienne Eiser Treeby, Crown & Queue
Also known as the Pork Whisperer and the Fearless Heroine, Adrienne’s love of breaking the boundaries of food tradition saw her using her butchery and Italian curing skills to bring perfectly cured sausages to the British dinner tables. She is dedicated to providing the highest quality grub using only the most local, British produce. She even sells ‘I Know Where My Meat Comes From’ tote bags from her website! Is there anything this lady cannot do?!
Marianna Kolokotroni, Oliveology
Marianna’s passion for the olive tree is the root of Oliveology. Using traditional techniques and flavours she shares the secrets of the super healthy Greek diet with her unique selection of oils, olives, herbs and quality honey. Visit her blog for more cooking tips and recipes straight from the Greek kitchen (as well as beautiful snaps and tips from her trips back to Greece).
Hayley Bryant, Pig & Hay
Since 2012 Hayley has been dishing out her fresh handmade scotch eggs and sausage rolls to hungry Londoners, using only ethically sourced ingredients. With oodles of skill and business-sense, Hayley’s quality British snacks sell out at pop-ups, food festivals, craft beer pubs, markets and cafes all around London. Her Pork & Stilton egg is unrivalled in the capital and keep your eyes peeled for her beery collabs and surprise seasonal specials.
Kylee Newton, Newton & Pott
Taking pride in the old age skill of preserving, Kylee uses influences from her childhood in New Zealand to develop her vast spread of jams and chutneys. Preserves have never been cooler than these and Kylee has even shared her secrets in her award-winning book The Modern Preserver, so we can all have a taste of the action at home. Three cheers to her!
Discover more info and behind-the-scenes stories on our producers.
Find out more on International Women’s Day’s celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women, and their campaign to #pledgeforparity.