Sara Ward and her family have transformed their West London Victorian terraced house into an urban smallholding, allowing them to have the best of both worlds - city and country. They are living the good life complete with 20 hens, two colonies of honey bees, a fruitful kitchen garden and a micro bakery making 30-40 loaves of bread each Friday along with hundreds of sticky buns, cakes and savoury treats. Whilst Sara and the family continue to expand their hands-on skills, they train and encourage others through their schools programmes and series of courses run throughout the year. Be it jam making, wood carving, bee keeping or bread baking, there’s always something new to learn at Hen Corner.
Tell us about yourself and your business
We are Hen Corner. We love the bee keepers, the veggie bed diggers, the jam makers and cider drinkers, the chicken fanciers and the real bread bakers. But not just in the deepest darkest countryside or the far, far away villages but right here in our cities and towns.
Many city dwellers and townspeople dream of a life in the country but feel tied to urban life for jobs, schools, family and convienience. My family and I truly have the best of both worlds in our cultivated corner of West London, living and working our urban smallholding. Whilst we enjoy the good life, we are always keen to share it with others through our courses, schools work and bakery.
What did you do before starting this business
I worked for a local charity.
What were the main motivations for starting your business
As a family we were trying to live more sustainably and others expressed an interest to find out more, so we started running courses.
Whilst we bake bread for our family, harvest honey from our bees, gather eggs and make chutney we sell our spare produce to our local community.
What is your inspiration for what you do
It's so important to know where our food comes from. Everything we eat used to be alive, be that plant or animal, so being able to trace the products back to their origins gives us confidence for our health, our environment and our farmers.
What do you love most about what you do
Meeting lots of people and them enjoying what I've made.
What advice would you give to a new trader starting out
Offer samples, let people taste how good your food is. Know your story well so that you can tell it easily.
Do you have any links to Ealing
I'm a member of the Ealing & District Bee Keeping Association
Where's your favourite place to eat in London
The Griffin, Brentford
Sweet or savoury
What's your essential dinner party ingredient
Where do you source your materials from and is this important to you
We use ethically sourced ingredients, organic where possible (our flour is from Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire), eggs are free range, sugar is British or FairTrade. We need to know where it's all come from and how it's production has impacted the animals & workers involved.
Where do you get inspiration for new products from
Amazing food is often the sum of three distinct ingredients, getting your base right is a winning formula.
Bread, Tomatoes, Cheese
Meringue, Raspberries, Chocolate
Cinnamon, sugar, butter
What's more important to you - colour or texture
July's W5 Food Market will be buzzing with information about honey, bee keeping and how we can help to protect the bee population in our community. Sara Ward of Hen Corner joins us with her bee keeping gear, to demonstrate how bees make honey, and how bee keepers later access it for our enjoyment. Sara will have honey available for tastings and buying, and will have kids' sized bee keepers uniforms on hand. So bring your little ones along to suit up and make like Winnie the Pooh!
Are you a trader? We have a number of events and markets throughout the year and are always on the look-out for exciting new traders to join our family. If you would like to be an Eat Me Drink Me trader please take a look at our Trader page.