The Gladstones: A Free Range, Foodie, Farm Shop Family
At The Foodie Bugle we love to hear the everyday foodie news and views from farmers and families who make growing and cooking delicious food their work, life and passion. Charlie and Caroline Gladstone are the owners of the award winning Hawarden Estate Farm Shop in Flintshire, north Wales, just 6 miles from Chester. On the estate they rear their own meat, grow their own fruit and vegetables and sell delicious, seasonal food in the farm shop, deli, butchery and café. There is also a BBQ area outside on the terrace, and you can see the pigs and chickens roaming free range. At their Scottish home in Glen Dye in Scotland, with their six children and large menagerie of pets, they love to cook and entertain, using their own organic, home-grown ingredients. They are also purveyors of beautiful kitchen, home and garden wares, all sold through their mail order company, Pedlars. They have recently restored and refurbished Balbegno Castle, a 1560’s L Shaped castle in the Highlands of Scotland, which is available for holiday lettings.
Foodie news and views from Charlie and Caroline Gladstone
I grew up on a farm and Caroline grew up in Paris, so we are both foodies. We became particularly interested in delicious, fresh food when we had children because we have a profound belief in the value of good food for all growing children. We make all of our own bread at home and grow vegetables when we can, although the rabbits do play havoc with them in Scotland. We entirely avoid processed food at home. The children have started to cook and that has helped them to learn how to eat simply.
When we entertain, we like to keep things simple but we believe that the look of the table and the atmosphere of the room are just as important as the food. A lot of people underestimate this, and do not understand that it’s horrible eating dinner under bright overhead lights. Our decorating style is vintage meets modern, and this is the style we have used both in our home, at Pedlars and at Balbegno.
At Pedlars we decided early on only to sell the things we really love, and everything needs to be well-designed, look good and work well. Lots of the products we sell are made in Britain, and those that are not made here are designed in Britain. In terms of kitchen wares, it’s odd but we haven’t found that many British-made things. So not many are actually made in Britain, but many are made in Europe. We sell quite a few European classics: Wesco, Staub, Duralex and lots of others.
We source as much of our food locally, and in particular we really like Finzean Farm Shop (www.finzean.com) just down the road from us. We eat a lot of our own meat, as we are organic farmers of chicken, beef and oats.
We inherited a fruit farm at Hawarden Estate in Flintshire, north Wales, and we decided to build a farm shop there, after a three year struggle to get planning permission. The highlights of the shop are our own fresh meat and vegetables and the cafe. People come here for the whole experience because as well as really delicious food it’s a lovely place to visit and explore too. There is a nature trail and a massive wooden castle for children, made of our own timber. The community is very important to us and we have a lot of school visits to the Farm Shop and the farm itself. Charlie’s sister works with us and she does guided tours. We very much encourage our own children to show an interest in food and they love restaurants as much as we do.
Quite soon we will be launching a website that will sell all our own seasonal fruit, veg and meat. This will probably launch in the summer, and it may well be only small and slow to begin with but we have high expectations for its future.
To keep up to date with the Gladstones and their activities here are the website details:
For the farm shop and café: www.hawardenestate.co.uk
Hawarden Estate Farm Shop
Flintshire CH5 3FB
Telephone: 01244 533442
For the Pedlars mail order company: www.pedlars.co.uk
Scotland AB31 6LT
For Scottish Highland holidays: www.balbegnocastle.co.uk