Lemon curd, anyone?

Pat Holdstock and Claire Stephens

Photo By thomas lawrence

The “Two English Ladies” are bringing a whole new flavor to Thursday Night Market. England native Pat Holdstock and her daughter Claire Stephens are providing their version of lemon curd to Chico locals weekly, as well as at Butte College’s Saturday market. Hailing from Gosport Hampshire in the United Kingdom, Holdstock uses a recipe from an old cookbook her mother gave her to create a unique, preservative-free lemon curd—a product that’s rapidly becoming a favorite among Chico market-goers. Their small business just began in March of this year, and with the help of Holdstock’s husband, Bob, behind the scenes, the two ladies now hold down the intersection of Fourth and Broadway on Thursday nights with their unique treat.

Why did you come to America?

Holdstock: We’ve been here 17 1/2 years, and we came because of my husband’s work; he’s a minister. We came out here first working with a church in Auburn. We moved to the East Coast for six years …. We finally came to Chico because Claire and her husband and family are here.

How did the curd business begin?

Holdstock: Both back in England and here, I’ve only ever made it as gifts for people. This year we decided we would try it and see how things take off.

Why just curd?

Holdstock: Lemon curd is very old English, it goes back to the 18th century. It’s very traditional, it’s something that we’ve always loved. It goes well with afternoon tea, and that kind of thing. It’s something different for people here to try, and it’s been received very well.

How did Claire get involved?

Stephens: One reason I guess was to work with my mum. I think it’s something I want my kids to get involved in. I think it’s just unique and I’ve been really surprised how it’s taken off. People that don’t know about it who try it, love it. The stuff they have at the store has a lot of preservatives in it, so people who try this say, “Oh my gosh this is so good.”

Why start at Thursday Night Market?

Holdstock: It’s a very low overhead to get it out there. I think you hit such a large audience. What I’ve found is that it’s as popular with young people as it is with old people. There’s no age distinction. I’m just totally amazed every time somebody tastes it and they’re like. “Wow.” It caters to the whole family really.

Is Chico the right place to start a small business like this?

Stephens: I think Chico loves to support local people—I think our business has proven that.