A new deal with independent sandwich chain Philpotts has contributed to Exquisite Handmade Cakes’ 30% year-on-year growth over the past two years.The Leeds-based bakery firm is currently supplying the 23-shop chain with a range of cakes and traybakes and, from next week, Philpotts will be adding another six to the menu. These include: Dark Sticky Ginger, Chocolate and Vanilla Marble, and Brandy Fruit Loaf.The business, started seven years ago by former chartered accountant Viv Parry, is currently turning over £1.7m, and employs 30 staff. It produces gateaux, loaf cakes, traybakes and wrapped bakery goods, which are supplied to retail outlets, such as cafés, as well as airlines.The firm has also recently invested in a new “retail-focused” packaging rebrand, which MD Parry said has allowed the business to expand sales of its branded range with two of its key foodservice distribution customers. She told British Baker that the future growth is very much a staged plan to, in the short term, build on its brand and invest in sales and marketing initiatives.“We are also looking at new markets,” Parry continued. “To date, we have concentrated on ambient foodservice distributors, but we are now looking to expand into supplying frozen food distributors and, to facilitate this, we have invested in a cold store facility on site. We will also be looking at other new markets including other airlines, train lines and other high-end retail with a new range of products.”The firm also hopes to move to a new site within the next two years, to support its future growth plans.Parry said the decision to maintain its home-baked and hand-crafted quality ethos, and to really listen to customer feedback is what helped the business take off. “We have regular tasting panels and if a line doesn’t retain the great ‘just home-baked’ taste, it doesn’t go out,” added production director and master baker Chris Parrington.
Last summer’s rain combined with this winter’s frigid temperatures have left cattle suffering and Georgia cattlemen seeking answers.University of Georgia beef experts have been inundated with calls from producers concerned about the forages their cattle are consuming, and in some cases, reporting their cows dying from poor nutrition.“What’s happened is we have a tremendous forage quality problem in Georgia right now. We had a very, very wet summer (in 2013) that caused a lot of our hay to stay in the field too long and that forage is deficient in energy for these cattle,” said Jacob Segers, a beef cattle specialist with UGA Extension. Hay left in the field for too long lost the bulk of its nutritional value. According to Lee Jones, a veterinarian with UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine, poor forage quality has led to increased instances of impactions — when food can’t pass through the cattle’s digestive system. The forage clogs the cow’s intestines which has led to death in numerous cases.“Low-quality forage is kind of a double-edged sword. First off, it really doesn’t meet the cow’s needs. She can’t even eat enough low-quality hay to meet her needs, because the forage is so slow to digest; so she’s basically hungry even though she’s got a full stomach,” Jones said. Low-quality forage consists of indigestible fiber which can impact the abomasum — the true stomach, he added.As if poor forage quality wasn’t enough of a concern for cattle farmers, Georgia’s cold temperatures this winter have made living conditions worse for cattle. Every degree below freezing — 32 degrees Fahrenheit — is equal to an added percent of energy requirement cows must consume to maintain a healthy body condition. For example, if the temperature reached 12 degrees, which was the case in north Georgia several nights in January, cattlemen needed to provide an extra 20 percent of energy for their cattle to maintain their metabolic needs, their pregnancy and the their body condition.“That’s a pretty stark increase when we’re dealing with some really low-quality forage to begin with. It poses a difficulty of getting enough energy into the animal,” said UGA Extension forage expert Dennis Hancock.Lack of essential nutrients is proving to be costly for cattlemen as numerous cows die, and in some cases, abort their calves. Cattle farmers could also suffer from today’s poor forage quality when they try to sell their calves in October and November. “A lot of (farmers) are going to feel the effects of poor nutrition next fall when they go to wean these calves, and calves are bringing more than $1,000 a piece. They have lighter calves to sell and they have fewer calves to sell. They’re going to really feel the pain then,” Jones said. To avoid these doomsday scenarios, cattlemen are searching for a supplemental energy source to complement their forage supply. UGA experts urge farmers to be mindful of the energy sources they choose. Those high in sugars and starches can rob the energy out of the hay or forage. Segers recommends farmers use commodity-based feeds, such as corn gluten feeds and soybean hulls, or even whole cotton seeds as a supplement.“When you have forage that’s as low in quality as what we have in the state, we have to be a lot more careful about how we supplement our cows,” Segers said.For more information about forages in Georgia, please see georgiaforages.com.
Skoro has promised an explosive return against David Ekpeyong. “Lucky Boy is unlucky to have been paired with me at a time I am ready, willing and able to prove to my fans Kakembo’s victory was a fluke. Lucky Boy will fall in round three. End of discussion,” bragged Skoro.Also loudly advertising his ring credentials is Olaide “Fijabi, whose light welterweight challenge duel with Joseph “Blacky Joe” Adeniji is already a talk of the town. “Blacky Joe boasted on television that he’d defeat me. He is probably confusing me with those small boxers down sport’s food chain. I’m Fijaborn, the champ. Blacky Joe will run back to Gabon, where he came from when I finish with him,” raved Fijabi. Blacky Joe had boasted that his main goal of returning to Nigeria is to defeat Fijabi.“It will happen,” he said of his goal of beating the two-time winner of the N1million cash prize for the best boxer of the event.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Ahead of tonight’s GOtv Boxing, boxers scheduled to fight at the event have been threatening to flatten their respective opponents in a few rounds.The loudest boast has been made by Waidi “Skoro” Usman, national and West African featherweight champion, who is making a ring return after losing the African title fight to Edward “Shaka” Kakembo of Uganda at GOtv Boxing Night 6 in December.