Award-winning Lincolnshire food

Henny and James Pinchin with their home-grown and homemade products at Pinchin's Family Farm Shop. Photo: SG051112-111TW
Henny and James Pinchin with their home-grown and homemade products at Pinchin's Family Farm Shop. Photo: SG051112-111TW
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It’s fair to say Henny Pinchin’s latest idea for a jelly was not a great success.

The rosehip and apple jelly was complicated to make and produced a grand total of three jars, so isn’t going to become a best-seller on the shelves of their Algarkirk farm shop.

If that experiment wasn’t a huge success, Henny and her husband James, of Pinchin’s Family Farm Shop, really won’t mind as they are still basking in their good fortune in the first year of entering the Lincolnshire Poacher competition. They were presented with four gold, eight silver and a couple of bronze awards.

The awards recognise Henny and James’s innovative approach to food, with some of their own inventions being recognised, such as the chicolata – a gluten-free chicken sausage with spices – which earned gold, and the Roman sausage made with Parmesan, red pepper, spices and onion that earned them a silver award.

Henny and James have always been in farming but when they moved to Algarkirk about six years ago – they have ten acres and James’s parents Peter and Wendy Pinchin own the four adjoining acres – there was not much more than a “bit of a farm shop” selling vegetables and flowers. They got permission to expand and earlier this year created a much bigger farm shop and cafe and the kitchen is now housed in the old farm shop.

From the kitchen, Henny produces an amazing array of quality foods, all made from produce grown in their fields and orchard or from the sheep, cattle and pigs that are farmed, with Peter and Wendy involved in the farming side. The only things they buy in are chickens and ducks from a farm in Suffolk.

Henny and James were selling their own meat and then, about four years ago, people started asking for pies. Henny admits she had never made a pie in her life but James’s mum, whose a good cook, taught her how to do it and they started coming up with their own recipes, trying different things and listening to customer feedback. There is now a range of between 15 to 20 pies, all containing meat from the farm.

The couple also do their own natural smoking of bacon and gammon, using apple, oak and hickory wood, and smoke chicken and duck, this last with cherry wood, as well as making their own pastrami.

Henny says: “Smoking is a lot of work and you lose juices out of the meat so it is difficult to get it right. Everybody that has tried it says it’s lovely. When I am boiling my hams I am adding all sorts of things to it to give them extra flavour.

“Everything we sell here is done here. We make our own chutneys and things like that and we started fruit jams this year. We do a whole range of cakes, but carrot cake is the most popular.

“We know what we are eating, we know it is good quality and hasn’t been messed about with, and we know the animals have had a good life and you can tell that in the taste.”

Spalding & East Elloe Butchers’ Association

Local butchers did very well in the awards, as guests at Spalding & East Elloe Butchers’ Association’s annual dinner heard recently when president Terry Wells spoke of the many successes enjoyed locally.

George Adams and Son Retail Ltd, Bennett Butchers, Grasmere Farm Ltd, W Hargrave and Son and Trevor Sharpe Butchers all earned prizes, with Bennett Butchers a class winner in the Lincolnshire Stuffed Chine category and Grasmere Farm Ltd a class winner in the speciality sausage category. All together, local entrants earned 18 gold, ten silver and 15 bronze awards.

The association is one of just two remaining in the county and celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018. This is the third term in office as president for Terry, who started in the industry as a 13-year-old errand boy for M Scotney in Winfrey Avenue, Spalding, in the late 1950s when there were about 20 butcher’s shops in town. Terry served an apprenticeship and eventually took over the business in 1973 and ran the shop until 1984 when he went to work for other meat businesses. Although retired, he still works a couple of mornings a week at Bennett Butchers in town.

Another honour has been bestowed on family business George Adams and Son Retail Ltd, with G C Mark Adams recently appointed as Master for the Worshipful Company of Butchers.