Alex Duck left the print industry in 2007 to rent a yard on Manor Farm involved in the recycling industry. He soon got roped in to helping David move animals and got a taste for the farming life. Somewhere in the middle of this he asked David if he could start growing chillies on the farm. To Alex’s surprise David agreed and in the winter of 2008 and without any experience of growing chillies, the first 60ft x 22ft tunnel was erected.
There was no real incentive for it to become a business and indeed it took a few years to really take off, but even in that initial year we attracted 500 people to the first chilli festival and began to realise there was a growing movement towards spicy food. We also realised that ‘Chilli Heads’ are interesting people and our descent into the colourful world of chilli worship had begun.
12 years on and the chilli farm has gone from strength to strength. We now farm nearly 12,000sq/ft of poly tunnel space, growing chillies from mild to wild. Our range of products has expanded from initially just sauces to now include beers, rubs and Make Your Own Kits! Our products are very well known and stocked in outlets across the country. We supply a number of restaurants and food outlets and tailor make sauces with white labels for many more. We also provide the Jalapeños for the new Upton Cheyney, Jalapeño and Dill Pipers Crisps!
The chilli farm has received numerous awards and has been featured on some interesting programmes including Country File, Blue Peter, Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puddings and Friday on the Farm. We were also awarded the Small Business Sunday honour by Theo Paphitis. Our products have won multiple awards from a host of organisations including Great Taste, Taste of the West, Clifton Chilli Clubs People Choice and the Great Dorset Chilli Festival Professional sauce makers competition.
All of our products are hand made in our purpose built kitchen on the farm. You can often smell the various delicious sauces in production if you are passing!