You won’t find fancy-flavoured vinegars in our shop, says Paul Widdowson bluntly.
It’s not an admission; it’s a boast. Neither will shoppers find ready-meals, anything that isn’t in season or is laden with unnecessary additives - and nothing that hasn’t featured Yorkshire somewhere in its journey to the plate.
Paul and brother-in-law Patrick Stephenson are two Sheffielders out to prove you can eat local at every meal. And that wonderful though it is, there’s a lot more to local produce than Henderson’s Relish.
Their Mr Pickles’ Yorkshire Food Emporium at 240 Abbeydale Road is a bricks and mortar altar to produce from God’s Own County.
“We’re not a posh deli; we are a proper local shop, striving to sell everything people need, food-wise, from Yorkshire,” says Paul.
It’s easy to spot the provincial provenance of Sheffield-reared meat, Whitby fish, local eggs, milk, bread, cheese, vegetables, oils, beer, wine and spirits, pickles and preserves. But even the tinned good and dried goods have a Yorkshire connection.
“We have sourced the everyday essentials that cannot be grown here from Yorkshire companies who import from abroad,” Paul explains. “It has taken a lot of time to source the stock. I first thought of the idea three years ago.”
Paul was a mortgage advisor at the HSBC before followed his foodie passion and bought the old Rectory restaurant in Howarth a decade ago.
“Getting local produce on the menu taught me how difficult it is to source local food all in one place. I wanted to create a one-stop shop and thought the place to do it was in my home city. There’s a strong interest in quality, local food here,” says Paul.
Patrick, a keen cook and son of Hallam Towers Hotel manager Jim Stephenson, gave up his career as a mental health nurse last September to join Paul. Their shop opened last month to a “wonderful response”, says Paul. “We’re open 8am to 8pm seven days a week and we’re rushed off our feet.”