The Telegraph March 2011

 From left to right: Katherine Manning, Rose Prince, Martin Gott, Stephany Hardingham and Raef Hodgson.

From left to right: Katherine Manning, Rose Prince, Martin Gott, Stephany Hardingham and Raef Hodgson.

"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."