Address: Wade Lane Farm, Hill Ridware, Rugeley,
Staffordshire WS15 3RE, United Kingdom
Phone: 01543 493081
Farming methods have changed in many ways during the years that my family has farmed at Hill Ridware. The potato crisps manufacturing technology available to us these days would have astounded my great grandfather!
The key principle of agriculture remains the same though: we care for the land in a sustainable way and, in return, it provides for us. Intensive farming practices which became popular in order to maximise the yield from the land have a downside in terms of ecological damage and even potential risks to human health. These risks have been widely documented.
As supporters of Natural England, the public body set up to protect and improve England’s natural environment, we believe in the sustainable stewardship of the land.
Countryside Stewardship was introduced in 1991 to encourage farmers to enhance and conserve the landscape and wildlife and also to make it more accessible.
This was later superseded by the Environmental Stewardship Scheme which continues to encourage works such as hedge laying and planting, and repairing dry-stone walls. At Wade Lane Farm, we have planted two miles of new hedging and we leave six metre grass margins around fields so that wildlife can flourish.
Just . . . Crisps Sweet Chilli
A Nose Plunge Test revealed a surprising smell – Herbs. I checked the reverse of the pack and fortunately, my mind wasn’t playing tricks. Herbs were included. I then peered inside and saw that the crisps included brown seasoning, most usually seen on beef varieties. This just raised my curiosity further. Astonishingly, they managed to be truly glorious tasting crisps, but absolutely nothing like sweet chilli. There was no spicy kick. There were no noticeable Asian influences. There was a slight soy flavouring, mixed with herbs and maybe some paprika. The odd crisp did have a slight tangy sweetness, though. It is rare that I come across a nice tasting crisp that doesn’t represent its flavour description.
Just . . . Crisps Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Just . . . like all their crisps, these were dark and moody coloured - Certainly unlike any other crisps of this variety. The taste was of warm, creamy potato with a fair and even distribution of both salt and pepper. Not sea salt or peppercorns, but powdery salt and pepper – The sort you might find on a café table. They managed to handle the flavour description very well, but in a unique and alternative fashion.
Just . . . Crisps Mature Cheddar & Red
A Nose Plunge Test was promising. There was a definite smell of both cheese and onion, which is rare. Unfortunately, the flavour didn’t follow through. The crisps were heavily seasoned and looked mostly brown in colour, which is also rare with this variety. The seasoning was all over the place. There was a salty cheese, and very little onion to some, a good hit of mature cheddar to others, and the odd few featured a good balance of both cheese and onion. The lack of consistency was a shame for what were very promising crisps.
Just . . . Crisps Sea Salt & Apple Balsamic
There was not much aroma when the bag was opened, but the flavour made up for that. There was a minimum of salt, but the apple vinegar was strong. It would be hard to say it was nearer cider or balsamic, but it was a good representation of half the bag description. Interestingly, while the salt was not prominent enough to balance the vinegar out, it would not have been particularly welcome.
Just . . . Crisps Sea Salt
These were unlike any plain, original crisps I have seen in the UK. They were dark and moody. Like they were fresh out of the ground. Very rare to see such character. The taste was also unique. It was one of those rare occasions where I am confident I can pinpoint a reliable comparison. Think fish and chips. Then think about the salt and vinegar on the fish and chips. These tasted of the salty, greasy batter, not the salty, chips. Yet, the aftertaste was all potato. An interesting and singular experience.
Just . . . Crisps Jalapeno Crisps
This ticked a lot of the right boxes when the bag was opened. There was a crusty, dark seasoning, covering the crisps, that promised something strong and spicy. Sadly, they did not deliver on that promise. There was a slight spicy heat, but nothing remotely like the sort of jalapeno I was hoping for. I did find a nice flavour, but I would describe it as spicy sausage. I would go further and suggest that were some herby seasoning added and the variety renamed, it would be a real winner.