Wednesday 13 January 2010

Jordans Cereals HQ

I count myself very fortunate and lucky to live in the countryside. I love looking out over open fields, seeing a rabbit run across the path in front of me and watching the trees and plants blossom and grow with the changing seasons. I think it would such a shame if all our farmland was to disappear. After meeting up with Jordans Cereals last month for their Country Crisp Appreciation Society day, I realised they share my love of nature and the countryside. They are based just a few minutes down the road from where I live so when they contacted me recently to ask if I would like to visit them in their HQ and learn a bit more about the company I was delighted. It’s always good to learn a bit of local history.

It was a cold snowy morning when I drove out to meet them, and thanks to my fantastic sense of direction I got a little lost. I knew I must be close as the air was filled with the aroma of hot, toasting grains. It really did smell like a bowl of steaming porridge, warm, wholesome and comforting.

Upon arriving at Jordans I met up with Mathilde, a fellow blogger who had also been at the Country Crisp day. She had brought along her friendly photographer Dave to take some photos – how cool is that, her own photographer! We were greeted by Rachel and Julia who talked us through the history of Jordans and the development of all their cereal range of mueslis, crunchy oats, cereal bars, country crisp and porridge, all displayed in big trays for us to look at and sample.

Jordans Cereals is still a family run business and they try to source as many of their ingredients as locally as they can. All their oats and grains are grown for them by local farmers and to conservation grade, meaning they have to be done in a way good for the environment. There was actually a very good article published in the Telegraph about them recently, which you can read here for more information.

Mixing their cereals in not such a straightforward task as it may sound. They are passionate about only using natural wholesome ingredients which has sometimes proved a problem when sourcing particular items. For years they restrained from using dried apricots due to the sulphur dioxide which is added to make them retain their colour, but there has been a foodie breakthrough by using natural fruit juices as the preservative. Another time their shipment of specially selected ingredients was being brought over by boat and the boat got hijacked, taking the ingredients with them!! I can imagine that was rather a surreal day when they got that phone call!

They also baked up two bowls of porridge for us to try. One using the traditional jumbo rolled oats and the other a finer milled oat for people who need porridge in a hurry. Both were very creamy and we had an interesting discussion about different toppings and various recipes.

We then got to visit the original Jordans Mill which is now sadly un-operational but is still very much a part of Jordans. It’s the buildings featured on all their boxes and is on the site of their outlet shop in Biggleswade. We were treated to a look inside and it was fascinating seeing the old flour milling machines. The mill may not be operating as a working mill, but it is still useful as a water wheel generates the electricity for their on site shop, thanks to it being situated next to the river.

We ended our tour with a visit to the shop which is a treasure-trove of raw ingredients and of course, their cereals, it’s well worth a visit. I love how colourful they look displayed on the shelves. Thanks Rachel and everyone at Jordans for such an insightful and enjoyable morning.


Elle said...

I love this kind of cereal and use cooked porridge for bread baking, too. I think I would have loved the old mill the old buildings! Thanks for posting about such a fine company and their products.

Julie said...

I really enjoyed reading about your day at Jordon's Katie and laughed out loud when you suggested it was a surreal day when they got the phone call to say the ship with their ingredients on it had been hijacked! It certainly would have been unexpected.