2020 at Lane Cottage!

Lane Cottage Delivery Van

Well, every year we say there’s a new challenge, it usually involves the weather but this year it was the virus!
All the tunnels were sown ready for the new Season before Coronavirus struck. The salad was all ready to be harvested just as all the restaurants were shut down overnight!

As a consequence of this awful pandemic our local, independent shops have been incredibly busy as people have shopped much closer to home than usual. This has meant loads of new customers for our Wonderfully Tasty Salad Leaves. All these people have for the first time discovered a fantastic, healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to the usual supermarket offering. We would love to retain these customers – as would all the shops – when things return to normal.

Restaurants are starting, cautiously to open but without many of them our trade is not what it would normally be- so in order to survive we have been doing everything ourselves and roping the kids in to deliver, weed, strim, rotavate, build tunnels, plant out, you name it!

Over the Winter I finally got round to making large batches of the salad dressing we’ve been enjoying at home for many years. Using the Honey from our own Bees and local Risbury Rapeseed Oil we’re really pleased with all the wonderful feedback.

We have also gone back to growing a wider range of crops. When we first started out, 10 years ago, we grew pretty much everything and just had one polytunnel for salad leaves. Gradually the land has been filled with tunnels for more salad leaf production but as have always sold the excess from our own Veg patch and couldn’t keep up with demand we decided, this year to plough up any spare bits of field that we couldn’t fit a tunnel on!
So we are currently growing four types of Kale, Rainbow Chard and Tenderstem Brocolli. I had dreamed of employing someone to pick all the veg but – thanks to that virus again – that’s how I’m spending my Weekends!

And finally…. We have..at last..launched our online shop! It’s really for people who have had our salad leaves whilst they’ve been in the area on Holiday and then want to be able to have them when they get home. It also seems that, as a result of Lockdown, people are using online shops more and more. We don’t envisage it will ever take the place of our fantastic local shops and loyal customers , it’s just a vehicle to spread Lane Cottage Salad Leaves a bit further afield.

Despite a rather odd 2020 we still have the usual problems; not enough water, too many weeds, voracious flea Beetles and other Critters but we keep going….

Mandy, Richard and the Lane Cottage Team

The 2016 salad season has begun!

Lane Cottage Produce salad Herefordshire

This season we’ll be growing 20 -25 different leaves and herbs – lots of mustards and spicy things.

What makes Lane Cottage leaves special?

  • We grow in soil using only natural fertilisers – muck, seaweed, organic chicken manure.
  • We use no artificial pesticides and rely heavily on nematodes which are the creatures that eat the baddies which eat our salad
  • The leaves are watered with our own mineral-rich spring water

Our leaves are available from lots of local shops – see the list here. Or please get in touch if you would like to become a stockist or use our leaves in restaurants, cafes or catering. Email us here richardandmandy@lanecottageproduce.co.uk.

Lane Cottage Produce salad

Lane Cottage Produce Salad Leaves Herefordshire

Midsummer at Lane Cottage

Virtually all our salad orders are up this week so everyone is doing extra hours! The sunshine has increased the orders, but also we have lots of new customers (including Purnell’s Bistro in Birmingham, Harry Tuffins Craven Arms and Church Barn Farm Shop in Whitney on Wye). There are also some exciting new openings (Barber and Manuel in Leominster and Csons in Shrewsbury).

We did our first ever  ‘tasting’ of our salad leaves at Battlefields in Shrewsbury.

Rich is sowing one tunnel this week and preparing another one for sowing. Pipework has arrived which means we’ll have a better quantity of water in the polytunnel field
We’ve also moved the sheep into that tunnel to help keep the grass down!
Richard Sidgwick Lane Cottage
Candy and Donna

Hay Festival


Hay Festival food catering

For the first time we supplied our salad leaves to several caterers on the Hay Festival site and to the pop up Rule of Tum restaurant in Hay on Wye. Early morning starts to get the deliveries there before the crowds.

Some lovely feedback –

Colin Gray Events,  “Amazing Leaves from Lane Cottage Produce made all the difference”.
Rule Of Tum,  “Best Salad Leaves ever,ever!”.

It was a really great experience and we met some lovely people. Plus we even got to enjoy the Hay festival on the final night when Nigel Kennedy performed.

Hay Festival Lane Cottage salad

Louis helping out at the Hay Festival site


Rule of Tum Hay Festival

Rule of Tum pop-up in Hay on Wye

Hay Festival Hay Castle

View of Hay Castle

Hay Festival deliveries

Henry helping out with deliveries to Hay

April at Lane Cottage

The kale is finished now and has all gone to flower. However we are leaving it there for a while as it’s feeding the bees. Richard is doing a bee course this Saturday and we hope to get honey bees next spring.

Lane Cottage Produce chemical free kale flowers for bees

Polytunnel 9 has been sown this week and we are finishing off building polytunnel 10. The salad is growing really well in this lovely spell of warm weather.

salad herefordshire lane cottage

Lane Cottage Produce salad leaves hereford ludlow

Here’s Rich on the quad bike laden with sacks of turnips which he has taken up to our pigs:

Richard Sidgwick Lane Cottage

Lane Cottage pigsThe trend for #foraging #wildfood continues apace. We have been picking a lot of wild garlic and sorrel for various chefs – Cliff at Dinham, Feathers at Ludlow, Green Cafe Ludlow, Castle House Hotel Hereford and the new Duck’s Nest in Presteigne.

We have been receiving some wonderful comments about our salad from both new customers and old. We are also enjoying eating our salad leaves at home, especially now the weather is good enough to eat outside.


July 2014

This fantastic weather has helped us no end and at last we can say we have an abundance of salad – first time ever! Of course this has been helped by the fact that we have so many more polytunnels to grow in – six in all.We have four other tunnels in the next field waiting to be skinned and sown.

All our Kales and Broccolis are now finally planted out in the first field and we’re preparing the next field for planting.But the big news for us this year is our brand new barn,packing shed and cold store on site.Previously I had to carry kilos of salad down to our house,through the woodland path,battling the brambles and nettles,down to our Dining table to pack it and across the garden to our small cold store,through countless narrow doorways! Now we are so much more efficient.

We also have a great team of local women to help us pick,plant,weed and deliver.There is still always way too much to do but better that than not enough.

We continue to get lovely comments about our salad leaves all the time.It takes a while for some people to get their heads around the fact that salad is not just a bit of tasteless green stuff on the side of the plate.We eat it ourselves all the time so we’re constantly monitoring the taste and quality.

With the addition of an extra four tunnels we are hoping to have a much larger quantity of salad to take us through the colder months but let’s not think about that yet.Here comes Summer……

Preparing for the new season

All is very wet and muddy and not much is happening in the polytunnels but this is a good time to prepare for the spring. We are increasing our tunnels from 4 to 10 this year,six are up and the race is on to get the others up in time. We are also building a barn which will house our new coldroom – much bigger than the one at the bottom of our garden – and a packing shed.This will make everything so much more efficient. Previously we had to carry all the salad down the hill to the house to chill it and then use our Dining room as the packing shed – not ideal! With the increased volume of salad leaves there is no way we could continue like this.

Four of the tunnels will go in the next field as we’re running out of space in the existing one,all the remaining space will be planted with kales,broccolis and potatoes.Once again we have struggled to keep up with demand and need to plant so much more this year.As this field is home to our Hebridean sheep Rich is busily preparing the Orchard i.e. putting hefty tree guards around all the newly planted fruit trees -which will become their new home.

We will also need many more hands to pick all this salad.Hoping to employ local people we have placed adverts in 4 local shops and have been really pleased with the response – some people have been way over-qualified but love what we are doing and want to be a part of it,others have been students and Mum’s who can fit in a day’s work between dropping off and collecting the kids.

This year our focus will be much more on the salad leaves,rather than other crops and my job,very shortly,will be to go out and sell it.We’re thinking of branching out into Hereford,so if you’re interested,give us a call.


New salad packs and latest experiments!

Lane Cottage salad

 Now picking red curly kale