This Month’s Q&A With Jim Hebden of Hebdens Seafood
Jim – When did you first become involved in the fishing industry?
My father was a fisherman and, when a berth became free on the boat he worked on, I joined that
crew. That was in 1958, I was seventeen. Before that I worked in a butchers shop, waiting for a fisherman’s job to become available.
Did you ever own your own boat?
Yes over the years we owned three boats. The first was small and then they got progressively bigger.
They were called Ocean Venture, Harvester and Ocean Venture 11.
How long did you work at sea?
In total 35 years. I guess over that time I had experience in nearly all types of fishing, including crabbing, long line fishing, dog and rock salmon fishing, prawn fishing and herring fishing.
How did you decide what to fish?
The seasons and the weather determine what is available.
How did you start doing farmers’ markets?
After giving up fishing, my wife Mary and I used to sell crabs at car boot sales. When farmers’ markets first started we gave it a go. As time when on there were more and more markets so we went to as many as possible. This meant that we had to rent our own premises to prepare the produce. We use about 100 crabs a week which we dress. The 100 crabs will make about thirty dressed crabs. We also sell large crabs whole. Mary makes the pate fresh for the markets to her own recipe.
What is your best-selling produce?
It is strange but that very much depends on which market we go to. At Oakwood it would be crab and white fish, at Otley we sell a great deal of mackerel and at Headingley the customers buy everything! We usually sell out there.
Jim, do you ever think of retiring?
Technically, I have retired! My son Richard took over the business five years ago. I just come along to help as I enjoy meeting the customers.
So what else do you do with your spare time – golf, knitting?
Golf! No, I can’t think of anything worse – waste of time! But knitting- not exactly, but I do teach one day a week at the fishing school in Whitby which includes showing students how to mend nets and make crab pots. I suppose that is a bit like knitting. It is good to pass on the skills I have learnt to the next generation and I enjoy working with young people.
I am also writing my autobiography because I have lived quite an unusual and varied life as a fisherman. It has been a time of great change and a lot of Whitby and the industry as I first knew it will not be seen again. I think it’s important to record that way of life and community.
You must have a lot of stories from that time at sea. Can you whet our appetite with one of them?
Sometimes we used to catch extra-large fish which would not fit in the boxes; we used to put them on shelves instead till we could do something with them. One day we caught an extra-large cod and when we got round to cleaning it we found a whole musical cassette in its stomach. A reporter from our local radio station got to hear about it and took the cassette home and discovered that it still played!
Was it Marillion with lead singer Fish?
No it wasn’t, but strangely one of the tracks was “I am a prisoner”
What is your Favourite type music?
Sole drum n bass.
What about a favourite TV character?
It would have to be Pike in Dad’s Army.
Suggestions for favourite book?
The Shellfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.
Thank you Jim
There is only one London Underground station which does not contain any of the letters in the word MACKEREL. Can you work out which it is (without using the Internet – answer next month)?
Thanks to the hard work, tenacity and generosity of the shops, businesses, local organisations and residents, Oakwood Clock is to be renovated. The area surrounding the clock will also be redesigned and upgraded with new planters and paving. This work is anticipated to start in the next couple of weeks.
Whilst this is great news, it will mean that Oakwood Farmers’ Market will need to move to a temporary site whilst this work is carried out- starting with this month’s market.
With the co-operation of Roundhay Park and Leeds City Council we have agreed that for this temporary period the market will be sited in Park Avenue facing the field.
We expect the work to be completed in time for us to return to the Oakwood Clock site for the May market. We have always had such fantastic support from our customers and hope that you will help us through this short period away from home.
Please tell all your friends and neighbours of our new arrangements, and we look forward to seeing you in Park Avenue for the January market on Saturday 17th.
Not only will we have our usual wonderful regular stall holders and guest stall holders at the Christmas Market this Saturday 20th December, there will also be carol singing, face painting, mulled wine supplied by (Leeds Lions club), mince pies and a chance to buy the 2015 Friends of Roundhay Park Calendar .
To help you remember all the forthcoming market dates why not download a copy of our 2015 leaflet which not only gives you the dates for each market and informs you about the market ethos, but also is very attractive thanks to Toni Driver the local artist who kindly painted the picture.
You could always give a copy to a friend or neighbour or maybe take one into work.
Download a copy of the 2015 Farmers’ Market leaflet by clicking the picture or clicking here.
This month’s Q&A is with Jane Boocock of Country Pies.
How did you come to have a business making pies?
When I first met my husband Gavin I was the farmer and he was a butcher and had a butcher’s shop. After we got married, however, we seemed to have a role reversal! In addition to the butcher’s, we decided to start a bakery and whilst Gavin looked after the farm, I looked after the bakery. Today, on the farm, we have approximately 1000 sheep and 150 cattle. My son Jeff has a pig business on the farm with approximately 2000 pigs.
How many pies do you make a week and how many varieties of pie do you make?
Each week we make approximately 400. We make 30 different pies including a vegetarian pie which includes vegetarian pastry.
Do you make all the pastry by hand?
I have a large commercial Hobart mixer (which is actually taller than me) and I use that to make all the shortcrust and hot water pastry for the pies.
When did you start attending Farmers’ Markets?
The first Farmers’ Market I went to was Leeds Farmers’ Market back in 2000.
How many markets do you go to now?
Four – Oakwood, Headingley, Horsforth and York Auction Centre.
Which are your most popular pies?
We make three sizes of pork pie and they are all very popular. A couple of years ago, we won the best pork pie award in York, voted for by the members of the public. At this time of year, the other two favourites are my Turkey with Cranberry and Stuffing topping and our Pork and Black Pudding pie. We make all our own black pudding.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Being farmers, we don’t take holidays because the animals need to be looked after and it’s not something you can simply hand over for a couple of weeks.
What other interests do you have?
Our other interests are taking our British Blue bulls and heifers to shows like the Great Yorkshire Show. We are very proud of them and it helps to promote the breed.
I also like to go eventing with my daughter Megan and her horse, Sportsfield Ricky.
What’s a typical day for you?
If I am not going to a Farmers Market, I can actually have a lie in, till about 6:30 am! But if I am at a market, I get up at 4:45 am in the morning. I am usually in bed by 9:30 or 10 pm because I have to get up early to help feed the animals and livestock. We also mill all the feed for the animals, so we know what goes into it. All in all, there’s not much free time but it’s a life that I enjoy.
What is your favourite bedtime reading?
Life of Pi by Yann Martel. (Editor’s suggestion)
What is your favourite TV programme?
I do not get much time to watch TV but I suppose it would have to be Monty Piethon!
I know you are busy so I must let you get on.
Thanks, I will see you on Saturday for the Christmas market.
Thank you very much to Des McLernon of Rhythm Aire for entertaining us at the November market. I know everybody enjoyed the music; some customers even danced.
We look forward to next year when we are sure Des will be back but this time with vocalist Charlotte.
But if you cannot wait till then you can always see them on YouTube videos.
RHYTHM AIRE Details: –
We are an experienced duo (keyboard (Des)/vocal (Charlotte)) called RHYTHM AIRE. We play weddings/bars/restaurants/parties/festivals/charityy events/cocktail parties/etc. and have our own PA. Our repertoire (over 100 songs) is jazz/blues/Latin/pop – but often songs with a chilled R&B/jazz feel. We adjust our play list to match our audience/venue.
We also have a repertoire of more traditional jazz/blues standards (not shown on videos).
See also recordings at (needs at least IE 10): https://soundcloud.com/rhythmaire
We know it seems a long time until Christmas but it’s just one market away! We hate to see disappointed customers so this month is the time to place your orders with the stall holders to make sure of your special Christmas goodies.
To jog your memory, here are some of the items you might want to pre-order:
Pies; hams; cakes; fish; venison; cheese; vegetables; beef joints; mistletoe; jam and chutney; eggs; bread; sausages.
All delicious and can be collected from the market on Sat 20th December – just in time for Christmas!
This month’s Q&A is with Bruce Salt of Salt’s Catering.
How did you get into the catering business?
Although my professional training is in accountancy, I have always had a passion for food particularly Spanish hams and the like so when the opportunity came to open my own deli, I was delighted. I wanted to let Leeds have a really good, proper deli. You know the sort that sell lovely hams and other artisan food which could not be bought elsewhere. And that is what I did; in fact we opened two shops. However, the catering side became more successful and we concentrated on this and a few genuine markets, such as Oakwood Farmers’ Market from 2012.
Where are you now with your company?
We have just moved to larger premises and are building our customer base in Leeds and Bradford. We employ fourteen staff and at present feed on average 150 people a day making 98% of the produce ourselves.
You still have time to attend farmer’s markets?
We like meeting the public and our customers. We can always find time to spend with people who appreciate good food and that’s why we are at the farmers’ markets at Headingley, Horsforth and of course Oakwood Farmer’s Market.
What is your best selling product?
That is difficult to say but at Oakwood Farmer’s Market our arancini (risotto balls) are very popular and are a big seller.
What other interests do you have?
I like watching sport particularly cricket and golf. I was lucky enough to see the European Team beat the USA at Medinah Country Club, Chicago in 2012 – that was a thrill. I like all sorts of music and reading. I used to like running, but now running around looking after my business, and young family, seems to take most of my time.
What is your favourite track?
Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty.
What is your favourite film?
Clearly, The Fabulous Baker Boys
Do you just service corporate events?
No, we are more than happy to cater for parties, picnics, and weddings.
Who do you think would play you in the film of your life?