10Qs with Radmore Farm Shop’s Vicky

Vicky runs Radmore Farm Shop with her husband Ben. Their vision has always been to bring the best of their farm’s produce into the city of Cambridge, and they do just that. Vicky’s Bakery is a staple part of their business and we are delighted to say that they have donated 50 mince pies made with love from their farmhouse bakery to our pop-up cafe at A Christmas Film Festival for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices on the 16th of December.

Vicky and I had a chat one morning on the phone after she’d come back from a children’s signing class with her little ones. We spoke about how she got into baking, why it’s so important to her to source ingredients locally and why she’s so kindly donating her delicious mince pies to our fundraising project.

How did you get into baking?

I used to bake a lot in my spare time as a hobby really. I’ve always loved to bake, and it was back in 2006 that I started experimenting with the odd sponge cake to sell in the shop. Those Victoria Sponges were what started my cakes becoming such a big part of Radmore Farm Shop. We had great feedback and very quickly it went from me making 3 to 150 for the shop each week.

Do you remember the first thing you baked for the shop?

That infamous Victoria Sponge was the first cake I ever made for the shop. But it’s the lemon drizzle that I’d say was the first thing I baked that was a big turning point. It just sold so well. It’s the cake of the shop. Whenever a customer asks what we recommend we always point them towards the lemon drizzle. It’s the go-to bake for us, very happy with that recipe.

What influences you recipes?

It often starts with someone saying ‘have you ever made a…’ or ‘you should try baking a…’. And sometimes we make something for a special order, for a wedding or party or something and it goes really well. I experiment a lot and when I have a recipe that’s at a point when I like it, out it goes. Then it’s all about getting feedback from our customers. I ask people what they think and then we end up with a recipe that sticks and people love.

Where do you source the ingredients for your cakes?

Anything we can, we get local. All the eggs I use are from our own hens, they’re literally a few metres from the bakery. I hear them clucking at the door, so local as can be! The flour is made at Heygates Mill 2 miles down the road, and they use the wheat from our farm.

Favourite Christmas sweet treat?

Definitely Christmas cake. I really like making the cake itself, making it really rich and indulgent. I absolutely love that people will be sitting down on Christmas Day and that what I make will be enjoyed and part of a special meal. Ben and I always enjoy that on Christmas Day, and say to each other ‘imagine how many people are eating our food’. It’s a great feeling know that the work we do on the farm and in the butchery and bakery leads to lots of people sharing and enjoying meals and treats over Christmas.

You bake your range of cakes, desserts, pies and pasties from a custom-designed bakery that was converted from a cowshed, how did this come about?

At the start I was doing it all in the kitchen of our old house. The bakery was going so crazy, it got to the point where I really needed my own space and to have someone else helping me. So we moved house. We converted the cowshed which was attached to the house into my bakery. I was heavily pregnant at the time so I really wanted to be close to the house. It means I can easily go back and forth between being with the little ones and baking.

I’ve heard you still use traditional ‘wooden spoon’ technique, why is this?

Everything in the bakery is made using wooden spoons. We don’t use any industrial mixers, nothing commercial. The reason is that I think it makes it more personal. That’s why people buy from places like our farm shop, because they know that our produce is made with lots of care and love. Without mixers and machines things do take longer. But I have another woman who helps me in the bakery and we have a mini production line going!

You also write a blog called My Family and Other Hungry Animals, what inspired this?

In the Summer I broke my ankle and had an unexpected amount of time on my hands. I missed the farm shop and it was originally a way for me to keep in touch with customers while I wasn’t there. Then, with looking after the kids and baking from home, I naturally have spent more time at home. It can be quite isolating on the farm and it’s nice to keep a link going with customers and Cambridge.

You’re baking and donating 50 of your delicious mince pies for us to sell at our pop-up cafe on the 16th, what’s special about this recipe?

So these mince pies are a perfected recipe and as ever they’re a product of locally-sourced ingredients. The mincemeat is made by the lovely lady at Bracken Hill who also makes the jams we sell in our shop. It’s the best mincemeat I’ve ever come across so we’re especially happy with these mince pies and really glad that people at your cafe will enjoy them as part of a great event.

Why did you want to support the pop-up cafe at A Christmas Film Festival in aid of EACH?

We really like to get involved in as much local stuff as possible. It’s local people who help and support our business, so it’s our way of giving back.

You can now order online and have Radmore Farm Shop’s quality foods from Ben’s Butchery, Vicky’s Bakery and more deliver straight to your door by clicking just  here.