A trip to Rodda’s Creamery…
Unlike many days we’ve had in January so far, last Friday the sun was shining down on Rodda’s Creamery for our annual sourcing trip with our apprentices. We were welcomed into the reception and led upstairs to get changed into some rather fetching factory attire complete with jackets, shoes and blue hair nets, ready for our tour of the factory.
First we were led outside to admire the immense silos, which against the bright blue sky were looking pretty impressive. These gargantuan containers hold around 125,000 litres of milk each, ready to be made into that delicious clotted cream we all know and love (they’re also self-cleaning too).
Moving on from here we progressed into the main factory building, here we were shown how the factory is monitored and operated. Amazingly, the factory is controlled and observed from one central computerised system which was designed in-house; this tells them the efficiency of the factory at any period of time during the day.
Leading on from the control room, we moved through into the main area where they start dispensing the clotted cream before cooking. Our apprentices watched in amazement at the high-tech, efficient machinery, extruding in a matter of seconds the clotted cream mixture into the tubs, row after row after row. Once cooked to their own special method, the pots are then moved through to the packaging area where one by one, beautiful little tubs of Rodda’s clotted cream fly from the conveyor belt, caught by a member of staff and carefully (but quickly) lined up on a palate ready to be dispatched.
From here we moved through the maze of rooms, each dedicated to a different product, this included milk, butter, crème fraiche and their newest product custard (made with Rodda’s clotted cream – yum, yum). Finally we made our way towards the dispatch areas including a freezer room designed for export, reaching -24, even our nostrils started to freeze after 20 seconds! Needless to say, you need to be pretty swift on your stock take! Clotted cream can be frozen for up to 12 months, meaning that Rodda’s can meet demands for export to many other countries, including Dubai, Hong Kong and most recently China. As well as export Rodda’s supply to over 90% of airlines that fly out of Heathrow, and create special individual portions for in-flight catering.
Finishing our tour we headed back to sit down with Richard Jewell, Sales Manager at Rodda’s and Belinda Shipp, Marketing Manager at Rodda’s who gave our apprentices an overview of the company.
Interestingly Rodda’s have been making clotted cream since 1890, where the founder Eliza-Jane Rodda started off just making it from her farmhouse kitchen, which is where the factory is built around and still stands today. It was obviously very popular with the locals, and before long they were selling to some of the top food shops in London. The way they make the clotted cream hasn’t changed in all those years, and Rodda’s are very proud of this fact. Clotted cream was also awarded PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status in 1998 by the European Commision, meaning when you see Cornish clotted cream on the label it has been made to the traditional local methods using Cornish milk, basically protecting any imitation. Belinda explained to us how Cornwall is very unique in that we have many foods with protected food name status, others include; Cornish Sardines, the Fal Oyster and of course the Cornish Pasty.
Rodda’s are also very passionate about partnership working with their farmers, with around 150 farms based within just 30 miles of the Creamery. They regularly meet with their farmers to try and understand the challenges they face, which works for mutual benefit.
The talk was finished off with a very welcome cream tea, complete with delicious scones laden with jam and an unctuous dollop of Rodda’s clotted cream. Needless to say they didn’t last very long! On our way out, we were very kindly handed a Rodda’s goody bag complete with butter, custard and of course, clotted cream.
Thank you so much to everyone at Rodda’s Creamery for looking after us so well, we all had a very enjoyable day, and learnt so much about our beloved Cornish clotted cream.