Profile: Hambleton Farms Fine Foods

If you’re ever strolling through Oakham, nip down Gaol Street.

On one side of the road is Hambleton Bakery – selling delicious, locally-baked breads, cakes and pasta – and on the other is Hambleton Fine Foods – offering an awe-inspiring array of meats and a fine deli counter. They’re both superb, but the only other thing the two shops have in common is the name.

Hambleton Farms Fine Foods, the Gaol Street deli/butchery, is owned by Andrew Nelson, a business-savvy farmer from Hambleton, Rutland. His Oakham shop is one of six Hambleton outlets. He also has outlets scattered around the east of England, including some in garden centres, like Van Hage in Peterborough, and a few in farm shops, such as Doddington Hall in Lincolnshire. The Oakham shop is run by Lindsay Cottrell of Oakham (centre of picture, between Richard Short of Melton and Sue Meyer of Great Easton).

In addition to produce from their own farmland – comprising 1000 acres in Hambleton, Exton and Cold Overton – the Nelsons (for Hambletons is a family affair) source meat from other farms, mainly in Lincolnshire. They have to, because they sell enough food through their outlets to slaughter ten beasts a week.

And it’s these tasty meat products that drive the business. The Oakham shop sells pies, sausages, steaks, chops and more. They’re cut and baked in Hambleton’s engine room in Mareham-le-Fen, Lincs, where six butchers and three bakers create mouthwatering food.

“We bake our pies in hoops to create thin, crisp pastry,” says Andrew. “We don’t use preservatives except salt and pepper. The cooking and processing’s crucial, but so is the sourcing. We know our animals are unstressed, and therefore tasty, but we have to be sure the beasts we get from other farms are the same, so we choose with care.”

If you enjoy high-quality, locally produced food, then try Hambletons.

Andrew and Gill Nelson

Inside the Oakham shop

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two kids and dog. He is passionate about British pubs, slow food and home brewing. He founded Great Food Club (originally as Great Food Magazine) in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.