The Gloucestershire Chilli Farm Story
Growing is in our blood, the soil is fertile and the chillies love being grown under glass in Gloucestershire
My name is Adam. I'm a third generation grower at my family's smallholding near Newent in Gloucestershire. The holding has been in my family since 1955, it was originally used by my grandparents to grow salad crops like carrots, celery and lettuce for supermarkets up and down the country.
I spent pretty much all my time at the smallholding as a kid, enjoying old-fashioned freedoms and the great outdoors. My grandad taught me eco friendly agriculture and organic farming, information I eagerly digested as a young boy with a passion for nature.
Returning to my roots..
When my grandparents retired my parents took over the smallholding but due to other commitments they scaled down the growing operation, and some years passed without the land being used to its full potential. By now I was fully grown up and studying for a degree in environmental science. I knew, as I studied that this newly acquired knowledge on top of everything I'd learnt from my grandad was culminating in a hunger to return to my roots, to work the land as two generations of my family had done previously.
However, I needed to make a change because the economic climate at the time didn't lend itself well to small-scale vegetable growing, so I needed a new concept for the farm; this is where my chilli growing story begins.
Chillies are an amazing fruit, they are thought to be rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly in vitamins A, C, E and complex B’s plus potassium, iron, and magnesium. Chillies are also incredibly versatile; they can be frozen, dried, used fresh – cooked, eaten raw – preserved in jams, jellies, marmalades, chutneys and pickles – infused into oils and vinegars – and even melted into chocolate!
As a fan of spicy food I'm no stranger to eating chillies, but I had a lot to learn about growing them commercially. I was ecstatic to discover that chilli plants love the super fertile red Gloucestershire soil so growing got off to a problem-free start. It wasn't long before I was experimenting with different varieties of chilli and different growing techniques, such as the use of glasshouses and poly-tunnels to extend the growing season; using these methods I've successfully grown chillies right into December!
Making the most of my chillies..
My business model for the Gloucestershire Chilli Farm was originally based around selling chillies to food producers, but I became disenchanted with this process when I saw the products that were being produced from my delicious chillies, they simply weren't doing them justice - the products were unoriginal, they contained too many unnecessary ingredients and didn’t work with the beautiful, complex flavours of my chillies.
I decided to rake matters into my own hands, and Adams Original was born. The concept behind my own chilli based product range was, and is, flavour first - heat second; bringing exquisite flavours into your kitchen everyday. I only use natural ingredients to craft my products and to this day they are still made by hand in Gloucestershire. Check out my original flavour combinations, like strawberry and chilli jelly or my personal favourite, chilli infused coconut oil.
The farm today...
The Gloucestershire Chilli Farm is very much a Stacey family business, now run by three brothers and our respective families. I love what we do and am so proud to be here today, watching my children play in the fields where my grandfather taught me to grow.
I hope you enjoy the Adams Original range, and that they bring a little extra flavour into your everyday life.