From professional chefs to professional growers, Allan and Sue's transition from one profession to another was brought about by the need for a more consistent product.
Allan and Sue started growing Micro Cress back in 2009. As chefs themselves, their transition from one profession to another was brought about by the need for a more consistent and flavourful garnish for their dishes. They began growing Micro Herbs and Pea Shoots in a small greenhouse in their back garden and supplied the restaurant they worked in. Their experience has helped them tremendously in understanding the requirements of chefs.
Having successfully grown Microgreens for the use in the restaurant and receiving positive feedback, they were asked by a local wholesaler to grow in a larger volume. After noticing the demand for plant-based garnishes, Allan and Sue left their roles as chefs. This is when they invested their time and money into the business and ‘Nurtured in Norfolk’ was born.
Allan and Sue chose Micro Herbs that where strong in flavour and still looked appealing on the plate. Including varieties that are most popular because of their robust flavour. Products such as Coriander, Lemon Balm, Baby Mint, Mustard Frills, Fennel, Garlic Chives, Red Vein Sorrel and Basil. Which are still by far the most popular Microgreens to date. The range of Micro Herbs has now been extended to over 70 different types.
The cofounders of the company saw a niche for new garnishes in the kitchen and wanted to add depth and flavour to the palate rather than just a garnish. Constantly growing and developing as a company. ‘Nurtured in Norfolk’ now supply a range of Edible Flowers, Micro Cress, Pea Shoots, Edible Leaves, Bunched Herbs, Baby and Sea Vegetables in various colours and flavours. All together there are over 280 different products in the range.
As ex chefs their simple ethos is that the quality and consistency of the product must be of an exacting standard that they would have expected and been happy to use themselves.
“Eating out is a pleasure we all enjoy for many reasons; the occasion, the company; the venue. But the food is of most importance; mostly how it tastes, but also how it looks. The way food is presented adds a special dimension to a meal”
– Allan Miller & Sue Drane
Here at Nurtured in Norfolk we believe in growing the way nature intended.
All our products have been grown on a natural soil base, benefiting from nutrients that are present throughout the growing stages and therefore extending the shelf life.
High quality seed is sown directly onto soil, watered, and given lots of hands-on care to make sure we obtain the best product. We use the highest quality soil that mostly comes from sustainable Scottish peat beds. We have mixes specifically designed for different growth stages of the plants and for different species of plants. The mixes are created to obtain strong healthy plants that have a longer shelf life. In addition, having much tastier Edible flowers, Micro Herbs or Pea Shoots. All our products are watered and then cut by hand to ensure only the best quality products goes out to our customers.
These methods have not changed since the day we grew our first seedling in 2009. We believe this is the only way to produce an exceptional product.
At Nurtured in Norfolk we want the freshest and cleanest product possible. So we use a wide range of biological controls to keep pest numbers to a minimum. Many of these are beneficial insects that are released into the greenhouses to attack specific pests. This means that we reduce the use of chemicals to control pests. The Koppert range of bio controls are introduced throughout the growing season to ensure good control.
We believe that this is the way forward regarding crop management and we rarely use pesticide or fungicide. Instead, we mainly rely on the predatory insects to do the work for us. There is so much more work involved in this method of control, but with so many more benefits to the plants and environment. It means the product can be picked 7 days a week and there is no doubt it is as natural as it can be.
Read more about how we support World Environment Day, every day here.