A new go-to destination for food and drink producers to manufacture and sell their artisan products has been unveiled in the Rural Capital of Food, with the launch of the Stockyard in Melton Mowbray.

Situated at Melton Mowbray Market, the Stockyard offers producers a unique space in which to manufacture and sell their food and drink in the heart of the Rural Capital of Food.

The agri-chic environment – which for decades has hosted markets and other events – has long been a destination for food lovers.

Now part of it has been given a new identity and new investment to attract more artisan manufacturers and traders to the site and build on the heritage of the market…opening the next chapter in its history.

Hugh Brown, CEO of Gillstream Markets Ltd, which operates the site, said: “I am delighted to launch the Stockyard, recognising Melton Mowbray’s heritage and future as a key food and drink manufacturing centre and a destination for food and drink lovers nationwide.

“We already have a number of artisan food and drink manufacturers and retailers on site, but there is tremendous scope at the Stockyard to create an eclectic mix of producers in this unique agri-chic environment. It provides the perfect opportunity for new and expanding enterprises to have a place in the heart of the Rural Capital of Food and we look forward to additional food and drink businesses joining us over the coming months.”

Already on site at the Stockyard are a growing number of artisan food and drink manufacturers and retailers including the multi award-winning Round Corner Brewing, the Melton Premium Craft Distillers, and Simply Chocolate, alongside butchers, bakers and pork pie makers. Smoked food specialist Feast and the Furious will also be relocating to the site during 2022.

Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire is the home of the pork pie and Stilton cheese. And for hundreds of years, Melton Mowbray Market in its various guises has played a key role in the ‘farm to fork’ story.

Today it has markets on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, plus many special events and festivals.

These strong foundations have been built on to create the Stockyard, as one part of Melton Mowbray’s food and drink experience. It is further bolstered by the weekly street markets, the Rural Catering Centre at SMB College and the many artisan and historic food producers in and around the town that have contributed to the town being named the Rural Capital of Food.

Stockyard Melton Mowbray, working in conjunction with Melton Borough Council, is part of the wider Food Enterprise Centre in the borough, building on the rich food heritage of the local area.

Now, with an increasing number of people interested in local food and the provenance of their food and drink, the Stockyard is offering the opportunity for producers to take space in the agri-chic surroundings of the Melton Mowbray Market site.

“The Stockyard hosts a range of markets alongside exciting and interesting events, including food and beer festivals, weddings, conferences and the like,” explained Hugh Brown.

“The Stockyard encompasses many of the existing values and heritage of the site, retaining close links to our local farmers and our weekly livestock sales. There really is nowhere more ‘farm to fork’ and helps to provide a unique market atmosphere, while establishing the Stockyard in its own right.”

The Stockyard is the new brand for the southern part of Melton Mowbray Market, which is the largest town centre livestock market in the country. The Market predates the Domesday Book and moved from its various locations in the central streets of town to its current site in 1869 as part of the Melton Mowbray Cattle Market Act.

As standards continued to rise through the 20th Century, the livestock moved into modern purpose-built sheds and the older buildings were repurposed for weekly markets and events. It’s some of these buildings which have been converted into exciting spaces for food and drink businesses.

The former chicken shed is now the Fur & Feather bar, adjoining the distillery operated by Melton Premium Craft Distillers which makes Brentingby Gin, while opposite is the brewery and taproom for Round Corner Brewing.

Combie Cryan, co-founder of Round Corner Brewing, said: “We are delighted to be an anchor tenant of the Stockyard. In the four years since our opening, we have played a key role in raising the profile of the market and drawing weekend visitors. We have created the perfect place for our brewery and taproom and, alongside our many amazing neighbours, we are looking forward to playing a key role in the future of this exciting newly branded Stockyard, which builds on the history of Melton Mowbray’s long links to agriculture and the food and drink sector.”

Jon Oakes, of smoked food specialist Feast and the Furious, said: “We are really excited to be locating our new smokehouse down at the Stockyard amongst some really passionate award winning food and drink businesses such as Round Corner and Brentingby Gin (Fur & Feather Bar).

“We are looking forward to enhancing the great food and drink offering at the Stockyard and can’t wait to help create an exciting destination for people near and far to visit for a food and drink experience.

“We will be expanding our current offering of cold and hot smoked products with new, bigger smokers, bringing out new products whilst also allowing us to be able to get back to our roots of our hot smoked food (such as smoked beef brisket and pulled pork etc) that we served from our food truck down at the Stockyard on many occasions in the past.

“We are looking to open a shop area to sell a range of our cold smoked products and eventually even have a seating area for people to enjoy our hot food offering too.”

In collaboration with the Melton Mowbray Food Partnership, Stockyard aims to be home to a growing number of innovative and award-winning independent producers.

Hugh Brown added: “Many industrial buildings have been imaginatively repurposed to create interesting spaces but what we have done at the Stockyard is repurpose buildings with an agricultural heritage to give them a new role in the future of the food and drink sector. Here, production is visible and proud. Producers can demonstrate their trade and expertise and customers can see what they are buying. We’re excited for the future of the Stockyard and are looking forward to welcoming more artisan manufacturers to our unique site.”

To find out more about the Stockyard, visit http://stkyard.co.uk/

Perfect 10 PR is a Nottingham-based PR agency specialising in foodservice and construction public relations.