The Perfect Ingredient: Nurtured in Norfolk.
Allan and Sue Miller both worked full time as chefs for 20 years before becoming growers of Micro Cress. Their transition from one profession to another was brought about by the need for a more consistent product. They decided to grow cress themselves in a small greenhouse in their back garden and began supplying the restaurant they worked in. Their experience has helped them tremendously in understanding the requirements of chefs.
Havi ng successfully grown Micro Cress for use in the restaurant, with very positive feedback, they were asked by a wholesaler if they were able to grow in a larger volume. Allan and Sue decided to invest their time and money into their business, which is when ‘Nurtured in Norfolk’ really began.
The cofounders of the company Allan Miler and Sue Drane saw a niche for new garnishes in the kitchen and wanted to add depth and flavour to the palate rather than just a garnish.
Allan and Sue chose micro herbs that where strong in flavour and still looked appealing on the plate. Varieties that are most popular because of their robust flavour like coriander, lemon balm, baby mint, ruby frills mustard, fennel, garlic chives, Red vein sorrel and basil are still by far the most popular varieties to date. The range of micro cress has now been extended to over 70 different types. All together there are over 280 different edibles in the range.
Now 10 years on in a 4-acre nursery the business has gone from strength to strength, with the help and support of numerous wholesalers. A work force of 60 plus fulltime committed staff now produce a niche range to keep up with the ever-growing demand for new, unique and innovative products.
Constantly growing and developing as a company ‘Nurtured in Norfolk’ now supply a range of wholesalers and Michelin star restaurants with a top-quality selection of cut Micro Cress, Pea Shoots, Micro Herbs, Edible Flowers, Baby, Micro and Sea Vegetables, Edible Leaves and Mint Tips in various flavours. As ex chefs, their simple ethos is that the quality and consistency of the product has to be of an exacting standard that they would have expected and been happy to use themselves.
All the 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. Biological controls are used throughout the growing process to keep the crops clean and pest free.
“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”