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Martin Fish visits a herb farm in North Yorkshire to see what started off as a one-woman band 25 years ago is now a large and expanding enterprise employing over 45 staff
Alison and Philip inspecting winter salad leaves

Nowadays growing and cooking with fresh herbs is very popular and the range of herbs used in food and drinks is ever increasing. Growing herbs is now big business and an award-winning North Yorkshire herb grower is leading the way when it comes to fresh herbs and edible flowers.

Herbs Unlimited has just celebrated 25 years in business and over that time the business has developed beyond recognition. It was all started by Alison Dodd, a trained cordon bleu chef who worked in the family restaurant. Herbs played an important part in her cooking, but she found it difficult to source fresh herbs to use in her dishes. To fill this obvious gap in the market Alison started to grow her own herbs on a small plot of land but soon afterwards decided to give up cooking for a living and instead become a full-time grower of herbs.That was back in 1992 and in the early days Alison had to juggle family life with the business. In between dropping and picking up the children from school she would grow, harvest, pack and deliver herbs in her small car. Initially customers were the larger hotels and restaurants in Yorkshire, simply because many of the smaller establishments still used dried herbs. As the popularity of using freshly picked herbs increased the business started to grow.

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In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden ... - Rhubarb for rookies plus A-class asparagus - Win great prizes worth over £2704 - Sow peas for early pickings - 7 slug controls on test - A taste of italy fresh from your garden - Meet the hairy bikers Si & Dave talk veg - Get the most from oriental salads - Grow your own cuppa - Reduce garden plastic