Hundreds of years ago, the view from John Harrison's farm would have been pretty much identical to the one seen today.

An ancient breed of cattle, traditional farming methods and the English countryside form the backbone of Duggleby High Barn, near Malton.

John bought his first Long Horn Cattle, the oldest registered breed in Britain and the native breed of the isles, back in 1994.

Beginning the collection with a cow and a calf, the herd has now risen to around 25, with many prizes, awards and accolades along the way.

John said: "It is a joy to farm these things, it is just as it used to be.

"I look across the dale, and feel real pride. It looks as it always would have, something you can see very rarely these days."

Everything about the farming methods here are traditional, not in an attempt to be labelled organic, but because John feels those ways are best.

The cattle are never bred intensively, are fed on grass, and except for being sheltered in barns due to the high position of the farm in winter months, live free on dale and village green.

John said: "I love to be able to put them out on the green, again they look so right out there, it is such a traditional picture."

Nearing retirement age, and having lived in farming his entire life, John would like to see the farm passed on to his son.

"If it is still possible for him to take over the running of the farm it would make me very happy, I would love to keep it going and to pass it on to my family.

"This farm is all about tradition, and I would love for that tradition to be continued."

Alcohol and chocolate - it has to be a winning combination.

That's certainly what Julia Brown is finding since she launched her new range of confectionery just a few months ago.

Julia and her husband Richard are the brains behind Sloe Motion Chocolates, near Malton.

She likes to describe the sweets as "one of Yorkshire's oldest wild fruits gushing with its own elusive tang, smothered in heavenly chocolate." A mouthful, but a delicious one.

The venture came about from Julia and Richard experimenting in the kitchen with sloe berries from their farm hedges.

"They discovered the gin and chocolate concoction, and were inspired.

"We made it in the kitchen, then looked around and realised we couldn't find anything else on the market on a par with it. We produce gin as well, but the chocolates are a unique product, we don't think there is anything out there like it available."

The response Julia has had would suggest she is right.

"It's been an amazing reaction," she said.

"For the first part of the year we have been very busy, and at Christmas and the New Year we were just trying to keep up with demand.

"Now we are supplying several shops in London, delicatessens all over the region, and landmark local retailers like the Star Inn at Harome."

While seemingly a move back to traditional ways, the farm-based project is actually a new life for Julia.

A marketing and business graduate, she had worked in banking before the couple embarked on this new venture.

She said: "We thought it would be a good time to have a go at a cottage industry, it was an experiment which seems to be turning out pretty well, and we are very happy in our new life."

Staff of life' is the name many give to the staple at the centre of British life, bread.

But that most basic of foods is being given a new lease of life due to a fascinating range of influences borrowed from all over the world.

Alistair Lawton, owner and manager of Via Vecchia, Italian meaning The Old Way' has drawn on many different cultures to produce a unique experience.

From pitta to ciabatta, chilli and sundried tomato to Marmite, the influences of this York baker need to be seen to be believed. That is, if you can catch it while the shop is open.

"People might be surprised when we are closed early, but they don't know how early I start," he said.

The handmade bread, baked fresh by Alistair everyday, requires a 2 am start every morning.

The popularity of the shop is now so well-known that it has become something of a clich in some York circles to say it went quicker than the bread off Via Vecchia shelves.' With a dozen different types of bread every day, and around 18 on Saturday, there is an amazing range of tastes and flavours to try.

But you would expect little less from the baker. A classically trained chef, having spent a youth in the kitchens of Claridges, the Ritz and the QE2, Alistair is not afraid of experimentation, and has many resources to borrow from.

"I began this shop in the 90s, it was a delicatessen, and I enjoyed it, selling unusual things, helping people to have new experiences, trying new things myself.

"But more and more, it was becoming focused on the bread, so I shut down for a week, had a refit, and decided to go for it. Five years on here I am."

With his bakery one of the most popular in the city and with Alistair happy to continue his experiments, it looks as though York's tastebuds will be tingling for many years to come.

A hero' is how TV chef Rick Stein described one of North Yorkshire's favourite cheesemakers.

The model of innovation, Judy Bell has transformed a farm held in the family for generations into a thriving centre of industry for one of the region's leading local exports.

Fans as distinguished as the Duke of Edinburgh, passengers on Concorde and the guests in the House of Commons restaurant have enjoyed Judy's cheeses, alongside shoppers from Sainsbury, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.

For Judy is creator and producer of Yorkshire Blue, the flagship product of Shepherd's Purse Cheeses, the only blue cheesemaker in Yorkshire.

She said: "We value all of our customers, from the House of Commons to the shopper down the road in the local shop.

"One of the best parts of this is showing people just what great things can come out of the area."

What began life as a typical cottage industry' on Judy's family farm at Newsham near Thirsk back in the 1980s sparked a huge reaction.

Judy's idea was based on her work in osteopathy, where she came increasingly aware of the number of people allergic to cow's milk.

She had the idea to make her own cheeses in 1987 - but instead using sheep milk - providing the name Shepherd's Purse'.

"It was a pet project of mine, and began on a very small scale in the farm kitchen, but my family supported me, and it grew and grew," she said.

After launching the venture in 1989, Judy and family enjoyed five successful years before creating Yorkshire Blue in 1994, the first cow's milk cheese produced at the farm, now one of its most famous products.

Developed from the traditional blue Wensleydale recipe extinct since the 1960s, the cheese is produced from fresh cows' milk collected from local farmers in the northern end of the Vale of York.

But Judy is not complaining about her success. Huge demand for the product has led to more staff being taken on, with the recent completion of new premises on the family-run arable farm in Thirsk allowing them to take on more staff, with around 15 workers now working full-time at the centre.