The Telegraph March 2011
Meet The Fresh Young Foodies
Children of farmers and producers are followin gin their parents' footsteps, breathing life into the artisan food sector, as Rose Prince discovered whilst writing her latest book.
Some bright young food producers do not just join the family firm: they abandon a high-flying career to do so. Stephany Hardingham, 33, took a Masters in Business & The Environment at Imperial College, London, before embarking on a career as a 'green consultant'. Her parents, Nicholas and Joan Hardingham, are soft fruit farmers who run Alder Carr Farm, a pick-your-own-business in Suffolk.
'I never saw myself taking over what they were doing' Stephany says. 'I saw how hard they worked. They bought a derelict pig farm and transformed it.
We lived in a caravan for three years while they renovated the house - money was sometimes tight'.
But when Joan began making fruit ices using Nicholas's mother's recipe, Stephany knew the family had stumbled upon an opportunity. 'I was living in London, and called them to ask to meet. I had a proposal ready, as if I were applying for a job!' She gave up her London career in 2004 and returned to Suffolk. 'I developed a brand for the ices. Alder Tree, which is now being distributed nationwide' Stephany says.
Since her arrival turnover has dounbled and the number of outlets selling the dessert has trebled. 'It is about having the energy to see the potential' says Stephany, who lives near Alder Carr Farm with her partner Graham Sayell, who also works with the family.
The Good Produce Guide 2011 - Rose Prince
Taste Britain: A Food Lovers Guide 2010
The onsite Alder Tree dairy run by one of the Hardingham's daughters makes outstanding ices. The list of contents is a joy to read: fruit (comprising at least a third & mostly grown on the farm), cream and sugar (but not too much). Irresistible flavour combinations such as rhubarb with stem ginger and gooseberry and elderflower have been praised variously by Nigella and Nigels (Lawson & Slater). The label 'prize-winning' can be used indiscriminately, but the Alder Tree gooseberry is truly deserving - last year it earned a rare 3 stars at the Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards, the 'Oscars of the Food Industry' Buy a small tub in the shop to enjoy in the lovely laid back courtyard.
House & Garden 2010
Taste Notes: Innovations, observations & reviews in the world of food & wine, by Joanna Simon
'Alder Tree's richly fruity cream ices are made on a family run fruit farm in Suffolk. They have a high fruit content (over 30 percent) and are made with fresh cream, but because they don't use milk can't be labelled ice cream, hence the name cream ices. Both the tayberry and the damson won three stars in last year's Great Taste Awards; I also highly recommend the raspberry.
The Independent Magazine 2010
Restaurants: Tracey Macleod
When writing about the Metfield Cafe at Snape Maltings, she said 'we didn't stay for puddings, though the list included damson jelly & cream, warm cherry clafoutis and lemon posset with shortbread. Instead we bought tubs of Aldr Trees cream ices from the concert hall bar at the other end of the Maltings, and ate them lookin gout ovr the marshes. Big skies, big flavours, and barely a person in sight.
The Good Food Producers Guide 2010 by Rose Prince
'Usually when ice cream is made on a farm it is because it is a dairy farm, but in this case it is the soft fruit grown by the Hardinghams family that is the important factor. You can come here to buy fruit or pick your own, but also to buy the fruit cream ice, so called because it has more fruit than anything else in the pot. It is also, uniquely, free from any additives such as fillers and gums. It is shocking how many 'artisan' ice cream makers use skimmed milk etc.
The business is now run by Stephany, Nick & Joan Hardingham's savvy daughter, and you can buy the ices in a number of outlets (contact for details)'
Great British Food - July 2010
Try Before You Buy: Alder Tree Tayberry Cream Ice
'This fruity little number packs a really natural punch. The sharpness of the berries is balanced perfectly with the sweetness of the sugar to provide a lovely fruity tang. Its taste is totally natural, as if you were picking the berries straight from the bush (unsurprising as it uses just fruit, cream and sugar, in the recipe). A refreshing and delicious treat'
Travel Food Magazine - Thomasina Miers May 2010
Food Focus: The Real Deal. From gooey clotted cream to rare-breed mutton, Rachel Truman asks some of the chefs taking part in this months Real Food Festival for the real food finds that make them proud to support small British producers.
Thomasina Miers: 'I discovered Alder Tree's fruit ices when wandering around the brilliant Aldeburgh Food Festival last year. They make classic English ices that are so high in pure fruit that they are technically not allowed to call themselves producers of icecreasm, so instead they are called cream ices. Fantastically creamy, rich and packed full of fresh British fruits, that are grown on their farm near Needham Market in Suffolk, these ices take me back to my childhood when we used to pick summer berries and my grandmother would whip them up into ice cream. They are simply the best. The Summer Fruits flavour is absolute bliss; all of Britian's best soft-fruit packed into a tub with whipped cream'
Cook Vegetarian 2010 - Best Buy!
'Somewhere between ice cream and sorbet, these delectable blends of local and fairly traded ingredients take frozen desserts to a new level. Made without egg or milk powder, our favourite is Toffee Apple (wow!) a luscious combo of Suffolk apples and crunchy bits of sweet toffee'