Food and drink group Taste North East has welcomed its first hospitality member to the table.
Thistleyhaugh bed and breakfast and catering near Longhorsley, Northumberland, has become the regional food and drink group’s first hospitality member since the organisation rolled out its service support offering to include all businesses that grow, make, serve or sell food and drink in the North East of England.
Formerly Northumbria Larder, Taste North East provides help with all aspects of business development, from product testing, training and accreditation to marketing and public relations. As well as offering specific support services to develop and grow all businesses throughout the food and drink industry, the group offers membership packages which include discounts on products and access to industry advice and support.
Owned and run by the Nelless family, Thistleyhaugh has a proven reputation for its quality bed and breakfast offering, where guests can feast on home cooked local food, much of which has been produced on the farm itself. Now non-residents can sample a taste of the Northumbrian farmhouse’s fare either in the farmhouse itself or in their own homes.
Zoe Nelless, who is developing the catering side of the business, said: “It’s just like having a dinner party, except we’re not sitting with them. We can cater for up to 20 people at once at Thistleyhaugh. It’s the personal, intimate atmosphere of the place that makes it special. People feel as though they are in their own home, and are relaxed as they eat what we hope is good food with the best local products, many with zero food miles.”
The Nelless family have farmed at Thistleyhaugh for more than 100 years. The farm produces organic beef and lamb and is the home of Northumberland Poultry, which supplies free range chickens and turkeys for the Christmas market. The farm also grows its own fruit and vegetables for use in the farmhouse kitchen.
Thistleyhaugh-produced beef can also be found in Waitrose, its lambs go to Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer and Northumberland Poultry chicken is sold via speciality butchers.
Both corporate and private diners celebrating special occasions have discovered Thistleyhaugh’s catering. But the business – now gearing up for the Christmas party season, to which its home-produced turkeys take centre table – is to take advantage of the support offered by Taste North East to raise awareness of its dining offer.
Taste North East’s Sandy Duncan said: “Thistleyhaugh is a prime example of a food and drink business of exceptional calibre. The Nelless family are committed to local food and the fact that much of their catering and bed and breakfast business produce is produced on the farm itself is fantastic and reflects in the quality and taste of their food. We look forward to helping them champion this further.
“Now Taste North East has expanded the criteria of businesses we are able to assist, we are able to support farmers, caterers and bed and breakfast providers like Thistleyhaugh as well as retailers and farm shops.
“As the food and drink organisation for the region, it was important to us to be inclusive of all businesses in the sector. Whether they make, grow, serve or sell food and drink they should all have access to the services and technical support we are able to offer through Taste North East to help them grow and develop.
“Whether that is helping businesses get the relevant accreditation to supply multiples like Asda and Sainsbury’s, or in the case of niche businesses like Thistleyhaugh, shout about their unbelievably good experience to capture new target markets, is all in Taste North East’s scope of work.”