Restaurant to take over showground kitchen as freezer meal demand grows

Andrew Jones, Hannah Springham and consultant chef Joe Walker.

Andrew Jones, Hannah Springham and consultant chef Joe Walker. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photography

A Norwich restaurant has taken over an industrial kitchen on the edge of the city as it ramps up production of a new range of frozen meals.

Farmyard, on St Benedicts Street, has launched Farmyard Frozen, a range of frozen meals which it had previously been making at its sister restaurant and hotel the Dial House, in Reepham.

But, with demand on the up, it has now teamed up with the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) at the Norfolk Showground to make use of kitchen space.

The sticky date pudding with Earl Grey scented butterscotch sauce, from Farmyard Frozen.

The sticky date pudding with Earl Grey scented butterscotch sauce, from Farmyard Frozen. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photography

Hannah Springham, who runs the business with Andrew Jones, said the idea came about in lockdown.

"We were having to home school and cook and we started leaning more on batch cooking, and realised that Andrew's stood the test of freezing and time," she said.

"We would pull something out a few weeks later and it was just as good."

A scan of supermarket shelves revealed there were few local options, or many which prioritised quality, she said.

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"We thought there was a gap. We make it exactly the same way as at Farmyard and you can really taste that quality," she said, "but because it's frozen it can be half the price."

One of the dishes from the Farmyard Frozen range.

One of the dishes from the Farmyard Frozen range. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photography

Restaurants around the country have had to adapt how they work during the pandemic, with many fine dining chefs pivoting to at home or reheatable meals.

From May, Farmyard Frozen will move to the showground and begin a national delivery service, with free delivery for orders over £40. It will mark three years to the day the couple took on the Dial House.

Dishes, which last for six months in a freezer, so far include beef wellington, chicken blanquette and lamb hotpot.

She said, with their focus on local produce and farmers, the showground was the perfect fit for the business.

They will also be stocked elsewhere - Kofra coffee will be the first to stock Farmyard Frozen at its St Giles and Onley Street stores in Norwich and its newly-opened Trowse shop.

Andrew Jones and Hannah Springham of Farmyard.

Andrew Jones and Hannah Springham of Farmyard. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photography

Mark Nicholas, managing director of the RNAA. said: "The RNAA is delighted to be working with Farmyard Frozen to enable the business to operate from Norfolk Showground. It’s a great demonstration of how the RNAA can help businesses involved in Norfolk’s vibrant food and farming sector.’"

The 2018 Royal Norfolk Show added £20m to the county's economy, says a UEA report. Picture: Ian Burt

The 2018 Royal Norfolk Show added £20m to the county's economy, says a UEA report. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

For more information or to order, you can visit the Instagram page at Farmyard Frozen and, until the new website launches, visit  thedialhouse.org.uk to order.

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