Our History

In the summer of 2009, a letter was printed in the Camping and Caravanning Club Magazine from a young member who had cut short a holiday as the family could not face another dinner of sausages on the BBQ.  The last sentence of the letter read, “is there a website that can help me?”

This letter inspired mealsinfields.co.uk.  As an experienced caravanner, with even more years experience as a technical author and trainer, looking for a hobby to pursue in retirement, I could offer a solution for a fellow club member, not to mention the rest of the caravanning and camping world, whilst giving me a fun way to spend at the least the first years of retirement.

It took eighteen months to collect enough recipes to launch the site.  I confess that I lost time trying to learn how to design and publish a website, before realising that the only way is to go to a professional.  Two months after finding Devmac Systems Ltd who maintain this site, we launched 
www.mealsinfields.co.uk on 11/1/11.

We carried on adding recipes to the site, until in May 2011 we were able to attend the Caravan Club’s National Rally as a trader.  We spoke to around 1500 caravan owners, all of whom were very supportive and enthusiastic about the venture, promising their own recipes.  Visitor statistics to the website rose, and recipes from those members began to arrive.

We returned to Yorkshire, a few weeks later, to a Camping and Caravanning Club regional meet, and repeated the process, this time asking specifically for information on local places to stay and places to eat.  Some recommendations were given on the day, others arrived by e-mail from the site, and once again, visitor statistics rose, and stayed at the new level. 
The photograph shows us at the Camping and Caravanning Club's NFOL in August 2011.
That  August, we also  went to
Devon,  where we focused on farm shops and local specialists – butchers, bakers, greengrocers – and could not believe the results, both in terms of recommendations and visitor numbers to the website.  It was a direct result of our experiences in Devon that we realised this website must become more than simply a hobby for the not-quite-old-enough-to-retire. A clearer vision emerged and is now shown at the top of the About Us page. 

In 2012 we took the decision to become a limited company, and Seasoned Solutions Ltd was registered on 12/1/12, almost exactly one year from the launch of the original website.  Visitor numbers had continued to grow during the autumn and winter months, giving us the confidence to take the website to the next level, and begin to market advertising options to the recommended businesses under the where to stop, where to shop and where to dine pages.

The team began to grow with the addition of account managers.  A marketng program was agreed and we set out in February to the Food and Drink Expo at the NEC, followed by other food and drink related events around the country.  The weather was less than helpful with several events being cancelled due to waterlogged fields.  Wherever we went, we were amazed by the support of the general public for our attempt to create a national directory of food outlets providing fresh local produce, particularly the farm shops.  Visitor numbers to the website soared and have continued to sustain that growth, despite the British weather.  More and more people submitted ideas for recipes and recommendations for businesses to be included in the directory sections.  

The result was that we outgrew our original software and August 2012 saw the launch of a completely new-look website with more user-friendly search facilities, but retaining the features which so many people told us they enjoy. Businesses are now able to add and manage their own personal pages, and visitors can add their own recipes directly from the website. 

A monthly newsletter was launched in February 2012 with subscribers joining either at the various events we attend or directly from the website.  Never a day goes by without at least one new subscription.  The milestone of 1000 newsletters per month was hit in July 2012.  Subcription rates continue to rise, and feedback from newsletter recipients is very positive.