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The New Forest Hamper Company to host festive tasting event at The Forest Deli in Sway

THE New Forest Hamper Company is hosting a festive tasting event for those looking to stock up on local goodies or gift a selection of tasty treats this season.

Owner Adie Callaghan will hold the Christmas foodie event at The Forest Deli in Sway on Thursday 30th November, between 4pm and 8pm. As well as tasting an array of delicious, locally produced fare, guests can enjoy a complimentary glass of Marlings’ Ravishing Rose; and there will, of course, be mulled wine.

“This event will really get people in the spirit and mark the start of the festive season,” said Adie, who started her hamper company in 2016.

Adie Callaghan New Forest Hamper Company
Adie Callaghan New Forest Hamper Company

Alongside this, she ran, with husband Jay, Appetite For Adventure, which provided catering for big events by charities like Comic Relief and Help For Heroes.

But the double whammy of Covid-19 and Brexit triggered the winding up of that business. Conversely, though, it was the pandemic that served to accelerate demand for Adie’s hampers, and she saw a sharp increase in annual sales in 2020.

“We went from around 500 the year before to 12,500,” said Adie. “I had 18 people working for me – it was a brilliant but very stressful year.”

Adie Callaghan New Forest Hamper Company
Adie Callaghan New Forest Hamper Company

What makes Adie’s hampers really stand out from the rest is not just her focus on local, quality produce, but her veering away from pre-made hampers to allow her to personalise them for her customers.

“I’d decided if I was going to do hampers I wanted to see what was out there locally,” said the mum-of-two. “I contacted the New Forest Marque, and I couldn’t believe the range of producers right on the doorstep.

“I wanted to disrupt the market and shake things up a bit, so rather than pre-made hampers I went down the route of bespoke hampers that people could create for friends and loved ones that would be specific to them.

Festive treats by the New Forest Hamper Company
Festive treats by the New Forest Hamper Company

“I invested a huge amount in my website to allow customers to pick and choose what they want in their hampers – it was a complex build and a big expenditure but it’s what sets us apart from similar companies.”

As life went back to the ‘new normal’ after the pandemic, Adie set her sights on building up corporate clients alongside her private ones, and now supplies a number of big businesses.

She also works with various holiday home companies including, locally, New Forest Cottages.

Adie has a unit at the Old Turkey Farm in Barrows Lane, where she packs her hampers and stores her various rustic baskets.

The Hattingley Boozy Christmas Treats Hamper
The Hattingley Boozy Christmas Treats Hamper

In terms of Adie’s business ethos, she lays an emphasis on environmental sustainability by working only with producers who use recyclable packaging, and her carbon footprint is kept low through the local nature of her business partners.

“We use DPD for delivery, which has made a commitment to use solely electric vehicles by the end of 2025,” she continued.

“I’m so fortunate to live in an area where people choose to come on their holidays – I sometimes need to stop and take stock of that. Our ethos is rooted in doing everything we can as a business to protect that.”

Over the years, Adie has nurtured close connections with her producers, and there has been flexibility on both side when times have gotten tough.

“Many of the producers who supply me are micro businesses and we are their funnel in terms of distribution,” said Adie. “For some we’ve kickstarted their businesses.

“You get to know each other and it is an extremely supportive community.”

Adie’s rustic branding and the beautiful New Forest imagery she uses on her website pays homage to the local area, and she wants to convey some of that unique character through the hampers.

As well as bespoke hampers, which can include vegan and vegetarian options, Adie offers ‘special collections including Christmas hampers and Hattingley Hampers.

Local producers include New Forest Ale, Marlings Vineyard, Fordingbridge Fudge, New Forest Cake House, Lyburn Cheese, New Forest Shortbread, PIG BEER, New Forest Tea Company, Beaulieu Chocolate Studio, Conker Spirit, and New Forest Aromatics.

For more information or to browse Adie’s hampers, visit www.newforesthampercompany.com

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