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Cardiff Character: Eira Ellis-Evans

Eira stood in her kitchen smiling

The owner of InnerCityPickle makes her own pickles and jams from scratch in the city and she’s been working sustainably for 10 years.

Eira stood in her kitchen smiling
Eira says she is obsessed with food and always has been

Eira Ellis-Evans, 53, produces her pickles and jams and has been selling her brand InnerCityPickle in Cardiff for 10 years. She’s a friendly staple in the Roath market family and has a strong presence in the community, not only thanks to her delicious products, but to her strong relationships with the other traders and customers alike. 

She’s approaching her 10 year anniversary for the sustainable brand.

The markets in Cardiff are continuing to grow and Eira’s favourite spot is one of the most popular. It opened in 2008 and runs every Saturday from 9.30am by Mackintosh Sports Club. Always welcoming exciting new products, it is the perfect place for foodies to discover the latest in local produce.

Originally from Porthcawl, Eira was one of eight children. Her father had an allotment and two gardens. Everything was made from scratch and her mother was a terrific cook.

“I’m totally and utterly obsessed with food, I just love it.”

“I can make shortcrust pastry upside down, blindfolded, hands tied behind my back,” she laughs. “It’s the one thing that I’ve made for nearly 50 years, I’ve been making the same recipe that my mother taught me.”

Despite flunking her A Levels, Eira managed to get onto a catering course at Bridgend technical college and qualified as a chef. Next, she ran an industrial catering unit, which she says was a “learning curve”. 

Moving to Cardiff

She moved to Cardiff 32 years ago, where she raised three kids with her partner. The family struggled for money, but once her youngest had moved to high school, Eira thought she should start thinking seriously about the business she wanted to create.

Eira making her jam
In five years time she wants to be doing exactly the same thing

She had already sold her jams and chutneys at the kids’ school summer fairs, so knew they went down a treat. She decided to register with the council as a new business. Her friend came up with the name ‘InnerCityPickle’ and she began trying to get into the markets of Cardiff. 

“I do it because I love it. It’s organised chaos”

It was tough to get a stall at the competitive markets, but she spoke to the board of Riverside. She said to them: “I’m local. I’m seasonal. I forage around the city” and managed to get her place.

Doing her bit

Eira gives back wherever she can. Every year when apricots are in season she makes apricot jam in memory of her mother, as it was her favourite. For every jar she sells, she donates 50p to the Lewy Body society, which funds research for Lewy body dementia.

She’s certainly not in it for the money. She says: “I like the way I run my business. I only supply my stuff to people that I like. If I don’t like you, I’m sorry, you can offer me a million pounds, you’re not gonna get my stuff. I do it because I love it. It’s organised chaos.”

Eira says the people are her favourite part of the job. Roath market is where she does her socialising, making connections with the community she works with. She says: “They’re just sound as a pound people.”

Eira says she is lucky to love what she does and she wouldn’t change a thing.

The owner of InnerCityPickle adds: “I’m totally and utterly obsessed with food, I just love it.” 

Jams on a shelf
All her produce is made from scratch and she sources it all from around the city
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