Out Over Catering was started in 2006 by Shelley Kift on her family farm 'out over' Exmoor at Blackmoor Gate. Using home-bred Duroc-cross pork and beef from neighbouring local farms, Out Over Catering supplies local farmers' markets with cooked savoury and sweet products and catering trailers to events in North Devon and Somerset. They also offer catering for outside events ranging from sit-down wedding breakfasts to party finger food. All elements of the business are based around local produce.
Tell us about yourself – who you are, what you do, how long you have been a food producer?
I studied at Cannington College and did a National Diploma in Animal Care. When I finished, I was unable to get a job working with animals due to the outbreak of foot and mouth, so I started working in the kitchen at a local pub. The boss needed a chef so he decided to put me through college to become a chef. A few years later, I decided I wanted to have my own catering business, so in 2006 I set up Out Over Catering. To me, I have the best of both worlds as I get to work with animals and food.
Now 11 years on, I still absolutely love what I do and it fits in perfectly with my family - my husband Andrew and I have 3 children; Bailey 6, Travis 5, and Lexi 1. The kids can come to work in the catering trailer or come to the markets with me or they can stay at home on the farm with Andrew. They love rearing calves and lambing, not so keen on the big pigs though!
What is life like on your farm at the moment? What does a typical week involve?
Life on the farm is normally pretty hectic and no 2 days are the same; other than the fact the animals are always pleased to see me, there's always a ton of paperwork to do, and the kids always need picking up from school!
As we do agricultural contracting this time of year, we are normally getting ready for the harvesting season to start.
We also finished lambing a few weeks ago, although, we still have the tame lambs to feed several times a day. Our Angus Heifers are due to calf in the next few weeks, so hopefully that will go well.
Describe some of your products and where you source your ingredients?
I produce homemade sweet and savoury products all of which are made from scratch. I use no pre-mix packet ingredients: the sausage meat I use in many of my products is from our own pigs, the beef used in our pies and pasties is either ours or from neighbouring farms, the eggs used in the sweet and savoury products come from Greenmeadow Poultry, and all other ingredients are sourced as locally as possible.
Can you share your thoughts on the importance of supporting your local farmers' market?
A lot of producers that you meet at a farmers market are small businesses that have an incredible passion for what they do. Many produce a high quality product which they're very proud of and want to tell you all about it. No where else could you buy a pork chop or a sausage roll and be told every single piece of information about the animal that it came from.
I think supporting your local farmers' market is important for lots of reasons: there is full traceability of the product, many ingredients will be within a short distance, the money spent at a farmers market stays within the local area, and lastly you are supporting local farmers and their families which means that they can sell their products for the price it deserves, and in my case, be able to bring my children up in what I would describe as the most wonderful environment and lifestyle any child could ask for.