Our Scotch Egg Journey
Rolling for you, since 2002…
Penny & Neil Chambers
,iThe gentle driving force behind this eggs’traordinary business ….
Back in the noughties, both Penny & Neil ran thriving ‘one man’ business from home. Penny, catering to large and small groups from Weddings, Balls & Parties to Private Dinners, supplying home made goodies to local Delis’ and all the while nurturing the world renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the CBSO. three days a week during their rehersals. Neil, designed & painted murals and faux finishes from Private Commissions to Architectural features in Hotels, Restaurants, Schools and Public Buildings, while running work shops and classes so always on hand for the heavy stuff and front of house duties when required at Penny’s events
“We found that we work extremely well together, with very different strengths, natural skills, as well as weaknesses, we give each other the confidence to tackle just about everything that comes our way”.
Farmers’ Markets openned the door to try something new, something that we could develop at our own pace and something more sustainable for the future, after all, living a commission orientated life is not a stable one.
Ideas from ‘fat’ frames, stencil kits, decorative boxes and selling courses were considered and Penny said that she could make Cakes, Quiches and Scotch eggs in her sleep… little did we know…
Farmers’ Market Beginnings
We approached the (then quite daunting) Teme Valley Market, at the Talbot Inn, Knightwick. A renowned food pub with a huge reputation for championing local, quality food, appearing regularly in the papers and Radio4, one the first 6 ever farmers’ markets to set up in the UK. Mrs Clift talked us through the Farmers’ market rules and regulations kindly inviting us to join them if we met the strict criteria.
Food Festival Fame
Thinking back now there is a lot to be said for naivety, we were told about a food festival held in Ludlow at the beginning of September, only about an hour from home, so we gave them a call to see if we could come along… well, after the lovely lady on the telephone stopped laughing she was able to explain that there was a year long waiting list for this prestigious event and she would happily send an application form for us to go onto the waiting list, “what are you going to be selling?” she asked, ” a range of handmade Scotch eggs” said I ( a range! where did that come from?) and that was that.
About an hour later the telephone rings and it’s Ludlow Food Festival, ” you did say, a range of Scotch eggs, didn’t you?” – “Yes, including a Vegetarian one” I piped in – ” we really like the sound of this and have managed to find a space to squeeze you in”… Hurrah!
The ensuing weeks found us tweaking and creating recipes, inviting friends, neighbours, family, delivery people and the postman to taste and comment as well as of course panicking like hell not knowing what we were letting ourselves in for.
With our minds made up , a range of eggs and a menu list created and printed on our computer we decided to go for broke and between us made 300 Scotch eggs, 100 a day for the event, purchased a garden gazebo and a borrowed a couple of tables from our neighbour Lindsey to create a stall, Neil painted up a couple of promotional boards and we were ready.
Friday morning in the grounds of Ludlow castle amongst a lot of scarily professional looking people and with fingers toes and everything else crossed we are open for business… Wham! sold out by mid-day! 3 days worth in less than a day and people clamouring for more… thank you Ludlow, the great bit was we were not the only ones, Michael and Debbie of the Organic Smokehouse and Simon of Osmin Olives were in exactly the same boat so we were able to keep each other motivated with telephone calls between us throughout the nights
We worked our proverbial socks off over the next two days but we were never going to keep up, but we were inspired, here we were in a top of the range real food festival and we were liked! this was the moment we decided to concentrate on just one course, the handmade scotch egg course, the rest as they say is history
The Hop Pocket, Bishops Frome Herfordshire
The Hop Pocket
The Pudge family couldn’t have been more supportive as we found our feet, behind us all the way since we moved out of our home kitchen in2005 to our first ‘unit’ the old cookhouse (53sqm) behind their rural shopping village.
Within weeks we had filled this space just as John finished another unit accross the yard in the original hop pickers barracks (38sqm)…so we ended up with two. Things were going well for us as the only specialist Scotch Egg maker in the country, if not the world!
Time rolled on and in 2008 we took on a much much bigger shed (350sqm) nicknamed the EGGshed by our neighbours, and the name stuck…
2010 – 2018 After almost 9 years on the streets and showgrounds around the UK we jumped at the chance to take a bit of shelter when Neils Mum decided that 41 years trading as Trend of Worcester was eneough and we took over the lease at no 14 Friar Street. Sitting on the most beautiful street in Worcester this tiny ‘hippy’ shop morphed into the worlds first SCOTCH EGG shop, Egg’cetera. Lin & Sarah took command and we spent a very happy time here ’till the National Trust requested the building back to set up their own shop to service Greyfriars
2014 – today – Taking on Little Verzons Farm gave us the perfect oportunity to open a much larger shop and to develop the nest, our quirky cafe along side.
2018 – 2020 An amazing project by the Bransford Trust to regenerate the disused Royal Porcelain Works between Worcester Cathedral and the River Severn on the very edge of the city centre. We had a wonderful time working closely with architects and construction teams over many months before opening a beautiful cafe/bar and local produce store in the stunningly renovated courtyard around the Henry Sandon Hall. We established, from scratch, a thriving cafe bar with a strong community vibe proudly handing over to the trust a couple of years later
2020 – nest Ledbury continued to flourish drawing the attention of local entrepenures and once agian we were approached to help set up a cafe/shop this time at Warehouse 701, Herefords biggest and best architectual salavge yard as they evolved their antiques & homewares offer. We didnt really get a chance to get this one on course as Covid hit days after we opened and as the nation gingerly stepped outside once again we made the difficult decission to cut back and to concentrate on the main outlet at Little Verzons. A year or so later they have a cake and coffee stall to keep you fortified as you explore this amazing site.
Little Verzons Farm, Hereford Road, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 2PZ
01531 670 816