I’ve been really lucky in my life to meet some fascinating people within the food industry that have turned into great friends or working colleagues, through hospitality as a chef or just through my own company. The journey continues for me and along the way I continue to stumble into new innovative products and meet the amazing people behind them. In recent times in Wales, this happened again.
February 2019 took me to a trade show in Pembrokeshire, Wales where I was exhibiting and a series of products caught my eye that I immediately investigated. This is where I meet Owen and Michelle Rosser from The Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm and now look forward to seeing them both every time I go to Wales.
Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm – The Beginning
Based in the heart of the Pembrokeshire countryside, Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm has built a reputation for quality premium chilli sauces, dried meat rubs, spices and jams. Even though the company was set up in 2017, the Rosser’s were growing chillis, long before as a hobby in their backyard.
From there they started producing, researching, experimenting, and testing sauces and jams while getting the specification right for their recipes in their own kitchen at home. A local designer created their logo and brand under Owen and Michelle’s supervision.
Owen coming from a background in retail management has a world of knowledge in branding and food retail. A premium brand was the key moving forward with a line of products they could be made for everyday household use but made with quality ingredients. Owen also kept an eye on what the competition was doing. By testing their creations out on family and friends they were ready to go to market.
The Welsh market
The local farmer’s markets have always been a way of entering any food retail market, as we know in Ireland and in Pembrokeshire, it’s no different. Starting off with three sauces and three jams off they went and now today they have a total of 18 different products with spices and meat rubs in their range. They have grown the business and their products can be purchased and found online, speciality stores, and select retail stores throughout Wales/UK.
Hang on this is just the start of the story
For all the success the range brings to the Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm, another big part of their business is selling whole chillies online, local markets and just direct to chilli lovers.
A 5000 square polytunnel on their land with so much room for expansion gives the ability to take orders online, go outside pick the amount ordered and send them to the customer that day knowing that chillies have a good 10-day fresh shelf life or can also be frozen.
Owen and Michelle have also adapted to the global change that needs to be looked at in every food business on a world scale by creating an Ecological growing system that needs no electricity, gas or petrol to run the farming process.
The future looks bright also as in the coming months in 2020 they move from their home kitchen into a production unit in Neyland Pembrokeshire just a few miles from their home place. This gives them the ability to produce 10 times the amount of product and expand on sales.
Owen and Michelle explain
“We invested our own finances into our company in the last 2 years, and we are growing our company organically. By buying a labelling machine, polytunnels, etc. investing high at the start already has started paying off. We walk into our production plant shortly with all of our equipment bought and paid for. A lot of companies do this the other way round but without using a bank loan or investment we did this ourselves and are ready to be introduced to other markets and expand in the UK.”
“We also envisage shortly to incorporate farm tours that will be the 3rd part of our business which we are really looking forward to that would really create the fullness of our vision of what we set out to do”.
It is quite clear that these two have built something special, not only recognized by their peers but won the Specialist Business of the Year 2019 at the Pembrokeshire Business Awards.
Sometimes you meet someone and you say hello and never hear again or just see them when passing because perhaps they are not that forward or they don’t see you as someone that could offer them anything in return. Owen and Michelle offer something that I can’t quite put my finger on but I do know that it’s something more than the business but perhaps that’s what it is husband and wife with a family that’s grown up is the difference between being the business and running a business.
Either way these two are nice people and I won’t wish them luck as they just don’t need it. They have worked hard and created their own luck and ambitions.
Just a quick thanks to them as the Scorpion hot sauce they gave me burnt all our family’s mouths. I suppose that will shut me up for a while.