PUBLISHED: 12:14 11 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:20 20 February 2013
Hadley's ice cream
IT NEVER ceases to amaze me how much good food we produce in the county, writes Stephanie Mackentyre.
There's network of farms and dairies in Essex and discovering them and what they yield is like finding hidden treasure. Hadley's Farm, spanning 150 acres, is no exception. Nestled in the countryside of Colne Engaine, Jane and her husband Bill have owned the farm and their herd of Holstein Friesians since April 2001.
Bill, with Roy his herdsman, produce the milk and Jane, with the help of Ann, Amanda and Dawn who live in the village, make deliciously creamy ice cream everyday in an array of exciting flavours.
Jane produces around 200ltrs of ice cream, which she and her team of ladies pot by hand - that's about 300 pots each and every day! Jane and Bill have two children Tom, 15, and Emma, 14, and even the children's art teacher took a hand in designing the Farmer Bills branding for the ice cream.
Jane explains: 'We have two distinctive brands, both award-winning, Hadley's and Farmer Bills, with the latter being aimed specifically at the children's market. Both are freshly made with no additives. Each of their cows has its own unique personality and name which you can see cleverly illustrated around the tubs.
Each flavour has a different cow featured and you are welcome to visit them for real and to see the ice cream made, but most choose instead to phone and place an order, or purchase some directly from many of the popular Essex farm shops. Kelly's Honeycomb Crunch is the best seller, although there is, of course, strawberry and chocolate. But Jane is constantly looking for new recipes to try. Elderflower, stem ginger, honey and lavender and even chilli marmalade have all been tried. Her ice cream has quickly gained an excellent reputation earning awards in the National Great Taste competition each year.
With the popularity of Jane's ice cream still growing, she's planning to launch a range of sorbets in the future. She's also planning to open up some of the farm buildings and create holiday homes. With her dreamy ice cream, she'll be a very popular landlady indeed.