When Tom Branch and Debbie Mole took the plunge and opened their own catering company Fallow & Fields early last year, they soon had around 140 events, weddings and celebrations on their books.
And then Covid hit. As a result, Fallow & Fields now boasts a deli, hamper business, takeaway and meal box scheme, as well as private out door dining when allowed, so there has been a silver lining, but at the time it was hard to see.
“The first lockdown really affected us and we lost a lot of our events/festivals and bookings,” Tom remembers. “We had to think on our feet so decided to launch an online hamper business using local produce, and it snowballed from there really.
“We’re super chuffed of the deli and what we have achieved during these challenging times, and I still get to do what I love – cooking good food.”
The hamper business was going so well it needed a proper base, so the pair found a beautiful building in Nuneham Courtenay and decided to open it up as a deli as well selling everything from fresh bread and cakes, to jam, gin, wine, beer, cheese, fruit juices, pickles, meat, eggs and more.
“One thing led to another and the shop just grew and grew. We had quite a successful time between the two lockdowns as we have a beautiful garden for people to socially distance themselves and stop for a bite to eat or a coffee,” Debbie explains.
fallow & fields have also also launched a Steak night, Curry night, Movie night and Roast in a box
As Tom and Debbie are both chefs they then decided to hire out the outdoor space in the evenings for private dining for up to 6 people with a bespoke menu, private chef and waiter for the evening. “It really started picking up traction and was becoming really popular because it was completely safe and free from other tables/guests,” Tom says.
But once again Covid dashed their plans when November’s lockdown came and Fallow & Fields went back to being a deli.
Never ones to keep still, to cope with a new lack of footfall due to lockdown, Tom and Debbie have now launched a range of meal boxes and take away meals for their customers.
“We have ready meals in our chiller at all times, ranging from pies to stews to pasta sauces and more, which you can buy, order or click and collect. They have proved a great success, offering people home cooked food with minimal fuss.
“We have also launched Steak night, Curry night, Movie night and Roast in a box,” Tom says proudly.
As for 2021, the pair are already planning their next move – a hamper service next door at the Harcourt Arboretum, hog roasts at markets and events at the deli, when allowed, including BBQ’s, Wine & Cheese tasting evenings and more.
All good then considering the circumstances? “We’re super chuffed of the deli and what we have achieved during these challenging times,” Tom says, “and I still get to do what I love – cooking good food.”
For more details or to order or click and collect go to https://www.fallowandfields.com