Cumbria's producers are gearing up for a bumper Christmas following a devastating winter in 2015, which saw Storm Desmond wreak havoc across the county.
This year Cranstons are again encouraging the people of the county to shop local and support small independent businesses in the region, echoing the message of Cumbria Day, held at Parliament on Tuesday by Cumbria’s six MPs.
Cranstons Cumbrian Foodhall in Penrith is a showcase for local produce which stocks goods from over 40 Cumbrian Suppliers including Country Puddings, Appleby Creamery, Eden Brewery, Claire’s Handmade, Saunders Chocolates and Cranstons own meat and delicatessen ranges.
Eden Brewery are reaping the rewards of the ale craze. Jason Hill of Eden Brewery said: “Last year, the brewery produced thousands of bottles of our range including the most popular traditional ale, Eden Gold for November and December sales alone.”
Claire Kent of Claire’s Handmade, which produces jams and chutneys at the company’s base in Wigton, said: “The production of jams and chutneys started back in July so we could meet the festive demand. Our team has worked extremely hard and produced 30,000 jars of the Christmas range over the past four months.”
Over the Christmas period Appleby Creamery sees a hike in demand for its speciality cheeses such as Eden Valley Brie. During this November alone, the cheese producer has used 15,000 litres of local milk in production of the festive stock as well as producing over 5,000 individual cheeses for local retailers. This is a welcome boost compared with last year when production was affected by the aftermath of the floods in Appleby.
Christmas dinner would not be complete without a centerpiece; Five tonnes of turkeys, the equivalent of 3,000 individual birds, were ordered by Cranstons customers in 2015.
A staggering 55,980 individual pigs in blankets were sold by Cranstons in the month running up to Christmas last year with that volume expected again by Christmas Day. The pork used by Cranstons in the production of its products is from Orchard House Farm, Newbiggin near Penrith, whom Cranstons purchase 80 pigs a week from during the run up to Christmas Day.
Country Puddings of Dacre, spearheaded by Lynne Mallinson, produce Cranstons Luxury Christmas Puddings as well as their own line of festive treats. On average 500kg of dry mixture goes into Cranstons’ range alone. The handmade puddings are the company’s charity product which last year raised £541 for Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland from the sale of over 1,000 puddings. Cranstons are hoping to exceed this target during Christmas 2016.
Philip Cranston, Managing director of Cranstons Quality Butchers Ltd said: “We’re lucky to live in an area with fantastic local producers. It’s great that Cumbrians recognise this and visit us in their droves during the festive period to get that special product that completes their Christmas meal.”