Slathered on toast, spread over baking, whizzed into a smoothie or simply spooned straight out of the jar, we just can’t get enough of peanut butter. Especially when it’s handmade in Cornwall by the wonderful Lisa and Andrew Newsham. With a wealth of culinary experience, Freda’s peanut butter was born after a whirlwind road trip around New Zealand. Amazed with the quality of the nut butters there, they decided to start their own brand when they returned to the UK. Using Lisa’s chef expertise, they handcraft unique, premium quality combinations that are a spoonful of heaven. From chipotle chilli to coconut - there’s the perfect peanut butter for everyone. Whatever your pick it’s fair to say we’ve all gone nutty for it.
What made you decide to start Freda’s Peanut Butter and what was the inspiration behind it?
As a chef by trade I have always been a foodie. On a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand in 2016, touring round in a camper van called Freda, we were really inspired by the quality of food that was available, and in particular the peanut butter. I thought that there was real potential in the UK for a peanut butter that was flavour driven without compromising on the quality of the ingredients.
What did you do before creating Freda’s Peanut Butter?
From leaving college I worked in our family restaurant business in Lancashire. In 2010, Andrew and I bought a café in Mevagissey and moved down to Cornwall. We ran that for 5 years; I ran the kitchen and Andrew was front of house. It was a great business but very seasonal. When we sold the café in 2015, I worked as a chef at Lobbs Farm Shop at Heligan and in the Salamander, Mevagissey and Andrew went back to his trade as a plasterer. When I came up with the idea of making peanut butter it was originally supposed to be a little sideline!
How are your products made and where are the ingredients sourced from?
The peanuts themselves are high oleic peanuts from Argentina. They are absolutely the best for flavour and cleanliness. The additional ingredients come from all over the world such as organic coconut from Sri Lanka, organic agave from Mexico, chipotle chilli from Spain and sea salt from Cornwall! We don’t compromise on quality at all.
I first started out in my kitchen at home, roasting the peanuts in the oven and grinding them down in a Kenwood mixer! But as we grew it wasn’t really satisfactory. Too many burnt peanuts and too many blown up food processors! So we moved to the Duchy College at Stoke Climsland where they have dedicated food preparation kitchens and lots of space for us to work in. We've invested in some high powered machinery which has made the process a bit easier.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I think as a chef I have a good palate and can combine flavours that really work well. Peanuts lend themselves to all sorts of combinations so it is very versatile. It’s my favourite part of the job to experiment with potential new flavours. You can get great inspiration from all sorts of cuisines.
What have been the biggest challenges/achievements, or your favourite story on your journey so far?
Our first food festival at Porthleven in 2017! We didn’t know what had hit us. We were trying to give out samples of Freda’s on cubes of bread. I was there with a chopping board and a bread knife trying to carve up these lovely loaves from Vicky’s Bread who happened to be across from us. After about 2 hours my arm was nearly dropping off. There was a constant flow of people and the marquee was packed. I just couldn’t keep up. We sold about 300 jars on the first day. But we reverted to tasting sticks on day 2 and sold just as much so we never went back to the bread idea again!
How would you describe Freda’s peanut butter in 3 words?
Delicious. Ethical. Quality.
What is your connection to Cornwall?
When Andrew and I first met we used to visit Cornwall as often as possible; there’s nowhere else quite like it. We would visit for long weekends – it’s a 6 hour drive from Lancashire! We would still be sitting on the harbour in Mevagissey at 6pm on a Monday evening knowing we had to be back to work at 9am the following morning. The opportunity to take over the café came to light and we didn’t think too much about it, we just went for it.
Do you have a special spot in Cornwall that inspires you?
When we lived in Mevagissey we used to walk to Dodman Point at least once a week after work and watch the sunset. We would joke that we came up with all our best ideas while we were sitting there. Now we live near St Neot and walk on Goonzion Downs most days. There’s always something new to see with the changing seasons. We’re incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful place.
What’s next/any exciting plans?
This year we have 2 new team members. Yvey Collins has come on board as our Assistant Manager and Sean Mellor as a Production Assistant. We’re really enjoying working with them and they are bringing a fresh perspective.
We are talking to the Department for International Trade about the possibility of exporting. It may take a while to set up but it’s a very exciting opportunity.
And of course there are always new flavours and new products to dream up so there’s never a dull moment.Shop Freda's Peanut Butter here.