Having moved from London in 2004 we (Sally & David) designed the new manna kitchen in a recently built unit in Crossways, just outside Dorchester in Dorset.
We started trading in January 2005 selling at Dorset Farmers’ Markets and were soon wholesaling to local farm shops and delis in the county. Since then production has trebled, although still small scale, and we are supplying selected independent stores across the country.
Our philosophy is simple, use the best ingredients and let the ingredients speak for themselves. There is no need to add artificial additives, preservatives, colours or flavours, excessive amounts of salt or any sugar if the dish tastes great naturally!
The quality and where we source our ingredients from are very important to us. We only use the best and support our local and UK farmers where ever possible.
We use meat, vegetables, milk, cream and fresh herbs all from farms within a 30 miles radius. Products that we can’t get locally we get from other UK based farms but there are of course ingredients that need to grow in a warmer climate, lemons and apricots for example, so these have to be sourced through a local distributor.
We make all our own vegetable, beef, lamb & chicken stocks, which form the base of most dishes. For the meat stocks, the bones are roasted before adding to the pot of gently simmering vegetables and are cooked for 10 hours to maximise the flavours. It is this attention to detail at every stage of production that makes us different.
We source our meat from local farms. We only use top quality free-range meat including free-range chicken. By buying directly from the farmers we know that the beef has been hung for three weeks and that the chickens are free-range so we always get top quality. All the meat is hand trimmed to remove any excess fat before using in a recipe and sealed to keep the flavours locked in.
We only ever use class 1 vegetables which are hand prepared just before they are required in the dish, we find the catering grade don’t meet our strict quality requirements.
We do not compromise at any stage of the cooking process and we think this really shows in the end product.
We started out at the Farmers’ Market with only 4 main dishes but have extended this to 19 and 5 desserts and will always be adding new dishes to keep the range fresh. As you can see we have something for everyone from the humble shepherds pie (our No 1 seller) to Thai Red Chicken curry. We also offer lots of choice for vegetarians and people on specialist gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
The dishes are made in small batches to ensure we maintain that ’homemade’ quality. They are then blast frozen giving them a six-month shelf life. All dishes can be cooked straight from the freezer so your customer does not have to think about them the night before and can conveniently just pop one in the oven (approx 45mins) or in a microwave (approx 8mins) when required. They are all generous portion sizes ranging from 330g-400g for our single portions and 620-750g for the doubles. The trays are CPET1 so can be recycled along with other household items.
2x 2 Gold Star awards at 2010 Great Taste Awards
Gold awards at the ‘Great Taste’ for 3 years running,
Best Ready-meal at the last ‘Soil Association Food Awards’
3 Gold, 7 silvers and 2 bronze at ‘Taste of the West Awards’.
Finalists in the Dorset Magazines ‘Best Organic Food Producer’ for 2 years running
‘Best New Product’ in ‘The Marshwood Vale Food Awards’.