Meet the Harrogate Fuel Mule: Vegan and vegetarian meals from a Harrogate home
A former headteacher has left the stress of the education world behind to take on a new challenge as Harrogate's first all-vegan and vegetarian food delivery business.
After leaving her role as the principal of two schools in York, Cath Hindmarch, from Harrogate, decided to launch the Harrogate Fuel Mule.
Using local produce and fresh ingredients is popular among the town’s thriving independent eateries, but Cath is unique in that she prepares all the meals in her own home.
She said: “I’d worked in education for over 10 years and I just had this real urge to do something. I think it was the stress of the job and wanting to do something different but that was still going to be a challenge.
“It’s not a criticism of what people make for themselves, I think it’s more to do with what supermarkets put in their food and the fact that some people buy prepped meals, which tend to be frozen.
“Frozen food does keep its nutrients but I wanted my stuff to be really fresh and as far as possible using local produce.”
A vegetarian herself, Cath regularly cooks vegan and vegetarian dishes for the family, but saw a gap in the market when it came to prepared meals for veggies and vegans.
She said: “I’m still amazed in this day and age that supermarkets don’t have a massive range of vegan food.
“You can buy just about anything in the supermarket but when it comes to ready meals, which are so quick and easy, there just isn’t much choice.”
But while preparing the food is almost second nature for vegetarian-Cath the venture hasn’t come without its challenges.
To give her home-made business the credibility of an established restaurant, Cath has called in the FSA to organise an inspection of her kitchen and ensure that her work space is up to the highest standards of cleanliness.
She added: “I am completely self taught in small business matters and have had to learn how to harness social media for marketing and how to create a website.
"That was a huge challenge which actually drove me to tears, but I did get there! It’s not perfect but I wanted to prove to myself that I could get a functioning website up and finished.”