From a table, in this charming mid-Norfolk café, look through a huge window to the product kitchen or into the shop where shelves are stacked with of over 50 types of tantalisingly delicious conserves, pickles, mustards, and spreads.
This family and team supplies flavours to savour in our region and abroad.
Sarah Savage and her sons Archie and Edward own and run Essence Foods and from all three of them seeps deep commitment to their business and personal values.
“We fundamentally feel people should have straight, honest, good quality food made with straight, honest, good quality ingredients.
Spend a bit more and you’ve something to put taste on a muffin or scone, or slice of bread, cheese or meat but can also be used in a cake, pudding or other recipe: a great emergency cupboard staple.”
Investing in the local community
“Buying our products is an investment into the local community: the farmers who grow ingredients for us and the team we have in our kitchen, café and shop. Your purchase of Essence Conserves and Marmalades, Montys Mustards and Chutneys and our Beetella healthy Chocolate Spreads has a ripple effect of good to all those of us here in mid Norfolk involved in making it and selling it to you.”
“Our Rib-Tickler Horseradish Mustard, (not as hot as traditional mustard, but with more flavour, a bit more earthy, because it’s that single estate mustard, grown on just one farm); our date based Sticky Pickle and Red Onion Marmalade and of our conserves Raspberry and Mint and Strawberry and Champagne and our new Lemon Marmalade.”
Our business is our people
“Our team, the 10-12 people from surrounding villages we employ, are fundamental to our success. We don’t want them to feel a cog in a machine. We involve them in the shared vision. We recently won an export order to Saudi Arabia and Dubai and we’ve all pulled together to get production for that over the line.
In a year we’ve doubled production to over 100,000 jars. That’s 100,000 moments made when a jar is opened to be enjoyed.
One of the lovely things about our cafe is that people see us making our products. They can try it and buy it. We also sell at food shows, festivals, and other events. You taste it, love it, then when you want more you can buy online. And we get a lot of that.”
How do we cope with pressure?
“Time away from the business is so important. Archie takes to tennis, Sarah sails and gardens. Edward’s getting back into the sport of fencing.
We spend long days working together. Having conversations with people away from work is important because you find out a lot about other people and suddenly you forget about yourself.
We respect each other’s space but look out for each other. We feel comfortable asking questions. Are you OK? Need help? If you do, when you do, I’m here for you.”
Everyone needs to be nourished
“Come and see us. Talk with us. We promise there’s always a Savage in the building!
From the stories we’ve heard in the last three years, many people have really had a horribly hard time, for 101 different reasons. When they go out, when they treat themselves, we believe they need a little bit of kindness and care, they do actually need to be nourished.”
The Old Dairy, Manor Farm, Stanfield, Dereham, Norfolk NR20 4HY