Seven years ago, leaving behind their jobs in Fundraising and IT, Deborah and Neil Flint decided to start a new adventure in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Cinderhill Farm, named due to the ash black soil around the farm, has been flourishing ever since.
A group of our colleagues visited the farm this summer and had the opportunity to see and understand the whole process, from field to fork. The team had a go at making their very own rolls, packing and labelling and they also got to meet some of the animals including the formidable Lady Penelope and her piglets!
The team head off to meet Lady P!
Having never farmed before, Deborah and Neil took a short course before they embraced the rural lifestyle. The land had not been a working farm for several years when Deborah and Neil took over and the couple worked hard to restore the land to its former use, installing water harvesting systems and other eco measures to sustain the running of the farm.
Deborah Flint introduces Lady Penelope and her piglets.
The couple are dedicated to keeping traditional native breeds including Black Welsh Mountain sheep and British Saddleback pigs. Lady Penelope, the Queen of Cinderhill Farm is just one of their beloved Saddlebacks. The breed was chosen by Deborah and Neil due to their hardy nature, eccentric characters and the fact they are excellent breeders.
In the Pie House.
After 2 years of adjusting to the realities of farming, Neil and Deborah realised they would need other means of income. In February 2013, Deborah began to produce pies in their farm kitchen. Interest began to increase when Deborah headed down to Coleford Country Market with a crate of pies and sausage rolls. The tasty treats were extremely well received and email orders from locals soon started flooding in. Within six weeks, the production unit for pies and sausage rolls was moved out of their domestic kitchen into the ‘Pie House’, one of the outbuildings on the farm. Word quickly spread about the products and the ‘Pie House’ has since been through two upgrades.
The team make their own sausage rolls.
The last upgrade took place in 2015 in response to the success of the produce at Gloucester Services Northbound, which opened in May 2014. Deborah and Neil attended one of our ‘Meet the Buyer Days’. The event offered local suppliers and producers an audience with our Gloucester Services Buyers. Deborah remembers that it was ‘love at first bite’ for the Buyers at the event!
Lunch is served!
Deborah explains “We’ve been working with Gloucester Services from the start, and the impact the partnership has had on our business has been huge. We’ve been able to expand into new premises and take on new staff. The business is growing and Westmorland have really helped us along the way.”
Their treats have been a firm favourite at Gloucester Services since we opened and we’re delighted to now stock them at Tebay Services too!
The famous Cinderhill Farm sausage roll!