MANY OF us may be winding down for the festive break, but for some of Yorkshire’s food producers it’s their busiest time of the year as they work around the clock to bring our Christmas meals to the table.
During December, the East Yorkshire-based Laverack family typically works 14-hour days and drafts in extra staff to cope with the demand for their meat products and baked goods - with all the meat coming from local farms.
The Laveracks are supported by a team of around 30 staff, including several young apprentices. Last December, they produced an astonishing 32,000 sausage rolls, each one made by hand at their headquarters in Holme-on-Spalding-Moor.
In the two weeks before Christmas 2014, they made 7,000 pork pies and 2,500lbs of sausages, working their way through three tonnes of boneless pork in the process.
The products are available from the family’s two shops – the A. Laverack and Son butcher’s shop and the Holme Made Bakery on the village’s High Street, but most are supplied to over 80 wholesale customers across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, who include shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs.
The butcher’s shop was founded by Ramsdale Laverack 150 years ago on the same site in the village where it’s based today. Ramsdale’s great-grandson, Tim, launched the Holme Made Bakery nearly 30 years ago and oversees both parts of the business, alongside his wife Dawn.
He said: “When Dawn and I married 28 years ago, we started to bake pork pies and the baked goods side of the business just snowballed from there. We did just 20 at a time at first, which is funny when you think that we now produce around 2,000 per week.”
Tim explained that the acquisition of the Holme Made Bakery site came about because another local butcher was selling his premises on the High Street: “My father, Brian, suggested that we should buy it. We ran the second premises on reduced opening hours initially, but then, after 18 months, we closed it and did a full refurbishment, reopening almost 25 years ago as Holme Made Bakery.
“In recent years, the bakery and butcher’s shop have both been refurbished and rebranded to bring the two different arms of the business together.”
The wholesale side of the business has expanded as a result and the family now also operates an outside catering service for events.
The sweet baked goods are made at the Holme Made Bakery site, while the savoury goods are made down the road in a production facility behind the A. Laverack and Son shop.
Tim and Dawn’s daughter, Amy, 25, is the fifth generation of her family to work for the business. She oversees the bakery’s wholesale arm and is responsible for marketing.
She said: “This time of year does add tremendous pressure, particularly during those last eight or nine days before Christmas. We take on extra part-time staff across the two sites and work extremely long days. It’s quite typical for us to start at 4am and work through until 5-6pm in the evening.”
Amy enjoys developing seasonal twists on some of the bakery’s most popular recipes.
“This year, we’ve launched our Christmas sausage roll, which incorporates cranberry sauce and stuffing to our traditional sausage recipe.”
All meat sold in the butcher’s shop, used to produce their baked goods and supplied to wholesalers is locally sourced.
Tim said: “The animals are slaughtered just down the road at J.A. Mountfield and Son in Bubwith. Pigs come from Melbourne, cattle from North Duffield, sheep from Dunswell Market and poultry from T. Soanes and Son at Driffield.
“The furthest the cattle will have travelled from field to fork is seven miles.”