Your Questions Answered
Who am I?
My name is Kerry Dodd founder of Hembridge Organics. Vegan friendly, gluten free organic preserves.
How did you start Hembridge Organics?
I started Hembridge Organics when my son reached school age. Starting my own business I knew I had to work my time around his school hours. Initially Hembridge Organics was an internet box scheme. Supplying local customers with organic fruit and vegetables grown in Somerset. Sourcing vegetables from five organic producers I soon realised that farmers would grow the same fruit and vegetables as each other resulting in a “glut” for the county. Customers would soon get tired of seeing the same old vegetables in their box. I decided that surely we could turn this glorious harvest into something else. With the help of my husband who devised the recipes we ran the preserves business alongside the veg scheme business for a couple of years until we decided to close the internet box scheme to concentrate on the preserves.
Why is organic so important to you and why did you want to be certified by the soil association.
Being organic is important to me as I like to be able to read an ingredients label and know exactly what that ingredient is without having to have a degree in chemistry to decipher it. The soil association is an internationally recognized symbol which guarantees the organic provenance of our products and ingredients.
What is your biggest achievement to date as a business?
Probably the recent national awards we have won and that our customers come back for more, especially a lady who lives in the new forest who suffers from multiple chemical sensitivity and says that ours are the only jams and marmalade she can eat.
What are you working on at the moment and what are your ambitions for the future?
We have some secret recipes that we are working on to increase our mail order online business.
What are the biggest issues facing our food systems?
The biggest issues for me are the amount of miles that some food travels. In most cases these foods could be found closer to home. Also being a beekeeper the pollination of crops by these incredible insects needs to be recognized by our government, as they need to be protected from the insecticides that are killing them.
What’s next for you and your business?
We have just started stocking a major organic wholesaler which will see our products being delivered outside of our region.
If you could only switch to one organic item what would it be and why?
I am a lacto vegetarian. Where the milk comes from that goes into the cheese and milk my family and I consume is very important to me. The milk has to be local and not been messed around with too much. We also see the cows in the fields around here looking happy and healthy.
Who inspires you?
My Grandmother. Sadly no longer with us but she was an incredibly strong lady who had integrity, backbone and never gave up. She also had a twinkle in her eye and swore her longevity was down to a small glass of scotch every night before bed.
Best advice you have ever been given?
Always trust your gut instinct. It’s not normally wrong.
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