Meet your local: Provenance,Tisbury

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This month Rachael Rowe visited Provenance, a beautiful village shop-with-a-difference in Tisbury, run by ex-Fortnum & Mason buyer Sam Rosen Nash.
When Halstock village shop first opened in 1991, the idea of community-run shops relying on volunteers was at that time visionary.

A delicious smell of fresh baking greets me when I arrive at Provenance. There’s a table laden with pastries, cakes and jars of tempting produce. I look closer, and owner Sam Rosen Nash welcomes me from the kitchen, having just baked a batch of sausage rolls. “Everything you see with a Provenance sign was made by us.”

What’s your story?
“I was a senior buyer at Fortnum and Mason and also ran a consultancy business. “When the pandemic struck, I was sat at home with my son, wondering what the next steps would be. Many suppliers I dealt with in the South West had lost their markets as restaurants were shut. By chance, a dear friend had just bought this shop and offered to rent it to me if I could make a go of it. So in September 2020, we opened the business.
“Our unique selling point is that we make everything ourselves or source from the South West. Most of our produce comes from within a 30-mile radius. We also didn’t want to compete with others on the High Street in Tisbury. “For example, we have a good butcher, and there’s a fabulous deli. At Provenance, we either make it here or source it locally. “If you want French cheese, you won’t find it here, but the deli does an excellent range. I think being respectful to other businesses is very important.”

Sam Rosen Nash make home-cooked foods using seasonal produce on the premises – and admits she can’t make enough sausage rolls and quiches!

What’s cooking?
“I make home-cooked foods using seasonal produce on the premises. I can’t make enough sausage rolls and quiches! I’m part Turkish Cypriot, so using lots of flavours is important to me.”
Sam shows me the rows of jams. “I’m not a jam person, but our jams have a dual purpose. For example, the plum and vanilla go well with game. And my rhubarb and star anise is excellent with smoked fish.”

How many are in the team?
“There are five of us. We’re a small team, and we also do catering.”

What’s flying off the shelves right now?
“Our kimchi and fermented products. And our curds” Sam shows me a colourful jar of parsnip and horseradish kimchi. Below it are jars of Persian Pomegranate Curd and salsas, all made by Provenance.
“And then there’s our ready meals …”
If your idea of a ready meal is a bland lasagne in a plastic container, Provenance is entirely different. Sam explained: ”I cook three choices each week. Half are frozen, and the others are fresh, so there’s always a
good selection in the shop. For example, this week, there’s a Mere Trout fish pie. And there’s also a sticky pork dish. The containers are all compostable. Simply put them in the oven, and the two holes in the container let out steam but keep the food moist. And all these meals freeze.”

Sam admits she’s ‘not a jam person’. But her preserves are dual-purpose: “plum and vanilla goes well with game. And my rhubarb and star anise is excellent with smoked fish”

Old fashioned service
There’s a steady stream of customers, some returning empty jars and bottles (discount for returned bottles), making a beeline for the freshly baked goods. Sam takes time to talk to everyone, and that’s clearly
something important to her. “It’s important to take time with people, especially now. I love meeting people and working in the community.”

Tell us about your local suppliers.
“Our coffee comes from The Roasting Party in Winchester. Milk is from Church Farm here in Tisbury. The pork comes from WS Clarke & Sons in Sixpenny Handley. And our lamb is from Alvediston. We also sell Charles Dowding’s salad leaves.”

What has been your biggest challenge?
“Opening up in lockdown was hard. And right now, it’s hard to predict sales because of rising costs. Packaging is increasing in price as well as energy costs.”

What are you most proud of?
“I love my little shop, and the customers. And all the products we make ourselves. It’s lovely to have our repeat customers. You see them buying something, and they come back for more. All the recipes are mine. My big thing is flavour.”

“I love my little shop, and the customers. And all the products we make ourselves.. All the recipes are mine. My big thing is flavour.”

What’s next for the business?
“We’re moving into catering events. We have a couple of weddings booked for later this year. And we’re starting to work with wholesalers for our products.”

Having sampled the sausage rolls and sticky pork, this shop is impossible to walk out of empty – handed.

Provenance is at 2, The Square,
Tisbury, Wiltshire.
www.provenanceonline.co.uk/

by Rachael Rowe

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