If the nearest you come to herbs is a little garnish here and there, then where have you been for the last who knows how many years? Herbs have evolved from garnish to the main player in a dish alongside edible flowers and micro leaves used as much for their appearance as much as flavour. They are part of the chef’s palette when creating food, and without them, well let’s not go there as we have Herbs Unlimited to thank, but more of that later.
Of course, nothing is new, and the power and ability of herbs in both cooking and prevention and healing for the body, as cleansers, and even messages of love has been known for millennia though somewhere we lost touch with this. So, here in Yorkshire, how grateful should we be to Alison Dodd and her family? Alison is the founder of Herbs Unlimited who recently celebrated 25 years of successfully producing herbs, salads and edible flowers from their farm at Sandhutton just north of Thirsk.
They supply the catering, hospitality, food processing and retail sectors, making us very fortunate to be on the receiving end of their fabulous products here in Yorkshire.
I was lucky enough to be invited to their open day to celebrate their birthday where they demonstrated the power the power and versatility of herbs and flowers in food and to inspire to chefs use them. Bring on my good friend chef Stephanie Moon who cooked a range of dishes to fire up the imagination, as always with exceptional skill and of course, her great sense of fun.
Be impressed by the menu below, I was.
Alison is handing over the reins to her family, though her son did make mention that he doubted she would be sitting still or not be involved somewhere in the business. In Alison’s words, “I started the company back in 1992 because the fresh herbs that I wanted for my dishes were hard to come by at that time”. Thanks to her and her team’s hard work and determination we now do not have that problem and I doubt we will. One thing Herbs Unlimited is good at is adapting and moving with the times as from those humble beginnings back in ’92 they now employ 45 permanent staff with a £4m turnover, owns its fleet of chilled delivery vans to distribute its products throughout the country.
Thank you, Alison, and here’s to the next 25 years.
Hawkers Lane, Thirsk YO7 4RW
CHEF’S OPEN DAY MENU HERBS UNLIMITED
Wednesday 21 June 2017
Lemon Verbena mocktail
Apple mint tisane
Yorkshire Wagu Tartar with Oxalis
Whitby Crab and tomato jelly with bronze fennel
Ravioli with a hidden lovage leaf
Orange Thyme Scallops with jasmine rice cooked in their own shell
Anise Hyssop pork belly with ginger, chilli, soy and coriander
Brioche of Bleikers Smoked Salmon with lovage leaves, lovage gel and sour cream
Oxtail donut with dittander cream and dittander sugar
Summer garden salad with lovage & tamarind Gol Gappa garnished with lime mint
Borage & yoghurt crisp
Pomegranate and Sweet Cecily Pistachio layers
Pineapple mint brownie with pineapple shard, lemon verbena and tagetes
Anniversary fresh herb truffles by Andrew Thwaite Chocolatier