He’s very handsome," says Josephine Joy-Commons, who hand-crimps Cornish pasties every day. "He asked me, ’How do you know how much meat to put in each pasty?’ I replied, ’Keeping it clean, sir, a woman always knows how much meat to use.’"
The Duke, as the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, went to Crantock Bakery to unveil a plaque, marking the successful completion of a £1.1m investment programme, which will enable the bakery to produce up to 120,000 pasties per day.
"It’s fascinating to watch people crimping," says His Royal Highness, The Duke of York. "A photographer tried to persuade me to have a go, but it’s far too clever for me.
"It has been a pleasure to come to Cornwall and see a prime example of a successful Cornish business. I’m impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of everyone. I wish Crantock continued success in developing new markets in the UK and abroad."
exports across europe
Overseas sales account for 2.7% of Crantock’s £9 million annual turnover. The pasties, along with other baked products, are exported to seven countries across Europe - namely, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Gibraltar and Ireland. Spain is the biggest market, so far, with nine outlets, including Benidorm and Alicante.
In the UK, the pasties are mainly sold under the name The Cornish Oggy Oggy Pasty Company and Cornish Bakehouse. There are 30 Oggy Oggy Pasty shops and 20 Cornish Bakehouse across the UK.
"It was a very special day for everyone at the bakery and marks the completion of a large investment programme," says Nick Ringer, managing director of Crantock Bakery.
Of the £1.1m investment, £247,000 was a grant from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), administered by the Objective One partnership, together with another grant of £247,000 from Defra. Objective One estimates that pasties were worth £150m a year to the local Cornish economy.
investment in local producers
Carleen Kelemen, director of the Objective One partnership, says: "Objective One investment is being used to help businesses in the food supply chain to add value to primary produce, work smarter, increase profitability, maximise market growth and remain part of this region’s valued assets.
"Crantock’s expansion is a prime example of this with the investment being used to increase the link between local producers and food processors, increase quality of employment and strengthen local supply chains."
Crantock’s pasties are made using traditional Cornish techniques, with a secret seasoning recipe, and every pasty is hand-crimped before being blast-frozen. They are then delivered to retail outlets, where they are freshly baked on the day. "The extension is mainly a larger freezing area," says Matthew Hurry, operations director at Crantock Bakery.
Nick Ringer and Matthew Hurry purchased the bakery in October 2002. Since then, the £1.1m investment at the 25,000sq ft bakery, has already safeguarded 85 jobs and created 30 new roles.
The company also bought new machinery, including a new £100,000 sausage roll machine, made by Rondo, replacing a machine that was over nine years old. Made in Italy to a Swiss design, it is fully computerised and capable of producing over 10,000 sausage rolls an hour.
protectING REGIONAL STATUS
Hurry says it would be great for Cornish pasties to received national geographical status protection because consumers are increasingly wanting to know the origins of their food.
"Consumers want to know that what they eat is a genuine regional food, produced with ingredients sourced from the local area wherever possible. The stamp of authenticity is an important marketing tool, like Belgian chocolate," he says.
The factory claims to use nine tonnes of meat each week and 18 tonnes of potatoes.
Hurry adds: "Since Nick and I took over the business in 2002, we’ve invested in the premises, in technology and in people. The business has expanded at a terrific rate, particularly into new markets overseas and across the UK."
The Crantock bake-off range of top 10 sellers includes: the Steak Pasty, Jumbo Sausage Rolls, Spicy Chicken Pasty, Beef & Stilton Pasty, Cheese and Ham Pasty, Chicken Pasty, Cheese Pasty, Lamb and Mint Pasty, Vegetable Pasty and Steak & Ale Pasty.
"How do you bring innovation to a traditional product that is hundreds of years old?" asks the Duke. The answer: with innovative flavours. Crantock makes a range of speciality pasties, which include the Full English Breakfast, Beef and Stilton, Pork and Apple, Apple and Blackcurrant Pasty, and even an organic Dutch Apple & Sultana Pasty.
Just before the Duke of York left the factory, he was presented with a hamper, full of Cornish pasties, Cornish ’Camel Valley’ Sparkling Wine, Cornish Mineral Water and a book called The Pasty. He wished the bakery success with its international sales and thanked the workforce for "all their wonderful smiles". n
=== Pasty facts ===
l Historical evidence confirms some of the first references to the pasty appear in the 13th century, during the reign of Henry III
l Superstitious miners, afraid of cave-ins and poisonous gases, left their crusts out to appease the malevolent spirits, the ’knockers’, that they believed inhabited the deep mine-shafts
l Each member of the family had their own pasty baked for them and marked with their initial. The correct way to eat the pasty is to start at the opposite end to the initial, so that, should any of it be uneaten, it could be consumed later by its rightful owner
l The pasty appears in three of Shakespeare’s plays: The Merry Wives of Windsor; All’s Well That Ends Well and Titus Andronicus
l In the 2006 short film Shanks, actor Jackoby Flash ate his way through six pasties in the space of half of an hour to achieve 30 seconds of footage
l Young Farmers in Cornwall hold the record for making the largest pasty known to man. Baked in 1985, it took seven hours to make, and measured over 32 feet in length
l A giant pasty is lifted over the goal posts of the Cornish rugby team when they play an important match. This tradition started in 1908 and the original pasty is used to this day
l An estimated two million pasties are made every week in Cornwall and 90% of them are eaten outside the county
l The Cornish Pasty Association is a group of more than 40 of the county’s pasty manufacturers and bakers, who are applying for European protected status for the Cornish pasty
l Cornish miner migrants spread pasties to the rest of the world and they can now be found in the United States, Mexico and Australia
l Over 68 million pasties are made in Cornwall each year, contributing more than £150m a year to the Cornish economy
l The famous sporting chant ’Oggie, Oggie, Oggie, Oi, Oi, Oi’ has its origins in the shout of the Cornish tin miners, hungry for their lunchtime pasty.Pasties are still known as ’Oggies’ or ’tidy Oggies’ in Cornwall
l Historically, the pasty was sometimes divided into two parts, so as to provide both the main course and dessert