This month’s ‘Spotlight On’ is an interview with Jane Boocock of Country Pies
(with thanks to Oakwood Farmers’ Market, Roundhay)
How did you come to have a business making pies?
When I first met my husband Gavin, I was the farmer and he was a butcher and had a butcher’s shop. After we got married, however, we seemed to have a role reversal! In addition to the butcher’s, we decided to start a bakery and whilst Gavin looked after the farm, I looked after the bakery. Today, on the farm, we have approximately 1000 sheep and 150 cattle. My son Jeff has a pig business on the farm with approximately 2000 pigs.
How many pies do you make a week and how many varieties of pie do you make?
Each week we make approximately 400. We make 30 different pies including a vegetarian pie which includes vegetarian pastry.
Do you make all the pastry by hand?
I have a large commercial Hobart mixer (which is actually taller than me) and I use that to make all the shortcrust and hot water pastry for the pies.
When did you start attending Farmers’ Markets?
The first Farmers’ Market I went to was Leeds Farmers’ Market back in 2000.
How many markets do you go to now?
Four – Oakwood, Headingley, Horsforth and York Auction Centre.
Which are your most popular pies?
We make three sizes of pork pie and they are all very popular. A couple of years ago, we won the best pork pie award in York, voted for by the members of the public. At this time of year, the other two favourites are my Turkey with Cranberry and Stuffing topping and our Pork and Black Pudding pie. We make all our own black pudding.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Being farmers, we don’t take holidays because the animals need to be looked after and it’s not something you can simply hand over for a couple of weeks.
What other interests do you have?
Our other interests are taking our British Blue bulls and heifers to shows like the Great Yorkshire Show. We are very proud of them and it helps to promote the breed.
I also like to go eventing with my daughter Megan and her horse, Sportsfield Ricky.
What’s a typical day for you?
If I am not going to a Farmers Market, I can actually have a lie in, till about 6:30 am! But if I am at a market, I get up at 4:45 am in the morning. I am usually in bed by 9:30 or 10 pm because I have to get up early to help feed the animals and livestock. We also mill all the feed for the animals, so we know what goes into it. All in all, there’s not much free time but it’s a life that I enjoy.
When we will next see you?
I’ll be there on Saturday December 2nd at your Horsforth Farmers’ Market.
(ed: be there early as Jane always sells out!)