Countryside Alliance Awards



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2011 Midlands Champions

The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, are now in their seventh year of celebrating the characters, skills, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick. The Awards are public-nomination led, meaning each business is put forward by a supportive customer. Judging of a shortlist of businesses has now taken place and a regional winner declared in each category. The Midlands winners for 2011 are introduced by Sara Rutherford, CA Regional Director for the Midlands:



Local Food category champion

Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, 01858 464 838 Sara says: “This shop had many passionate nominations and it is easy to see why. People know that they are getting good, honest, high quality local food from Farndon Fields, with over 50 types of fruit and veg grown on the farm itself during the year. There is also a great butchery counter, deli, café selling farm produce and a plant centre, so shopping at Farndon is an opportunity to really be a part of this Leicestershire community and make local mean local. But it’s not just great produce at play here; there is also a commitment to conservation and education. Farmer Kevin Stokes has a dedicated plot of land known as 'Conservation Corner' on the farm that has been given back to nature, providing wildlife with a natural habitat. Kevin and his wife Milly also speak to the local school about farming and often have primary school classes to the farm to learn about where food comes from. The Countryside Alliance is proud to honour this excellent initiative which has a love of farming at its heart, and also has a keen eye on the next generation and our countryside’s future.”


Village Shop/ Post Office category champion

Marchington Village Shop, Marchington, Staffordshire 01283 821248 Sara says:Marchington villagers celebrated the re-opening of their shop in November 2010 having seen the previous one close that January, so residents were quick to turn a negative into a positive. The shop is now owned and run entirely by villagers, with over 35 regular volunteers doing their bit to ensure that this 1,000 strong village keeps hold of this vital service. Village shops really are the hearts of their communities and at Marchington this is much in evidence. Older residents love the shop which is a hub for them, and the shop’s  focus on local produce is popular, with stock coming from local butchers, bakers and farm shops. The local policewoman holds surgeries at the shop, further cementing its position as the heart of the community. The Countryside Alliance is proud to honour this show of people power which has brought people together for the benefit of the entire community and local businesses.”  


Enterprise category champion

Park Hill Farm, Hales, Market Drayton, Shropshire 01630 652178 Sara says: “Pat Pimlott and her family are passionate about maintaining the family farm as a working farm and continue to use traditional methods for the production of their fabulous meat, all of which comes from native breeds. They are regular supporters of local food fairs and are particularly concerned about encouraging young people to think about where their food comes from. This is a worthy enterprise champion because it is so, so much more than a farm. Regular open days concentrate on re-connecting the next generation with where food comes from and how farming works, and it is to the family’s immense credit that they have put their hearts and souls into the educational side of farming; this is just so important. Park Hill works with youngsters from primary, secondary and college age and offer work experience too. It’s enterprises like this one that make you feel optimistic about the future of food and farming in the UK. Congratulations, Park Hill Farm.”


Butcher category champion

'Pete the Meat' Butcher, Astwood Bank, Redditch, Worcestershire 01527 892654 says: “As the name would suggest Pete the Meat is a real local character who absolutely typifies the great British butcher. Pete and his team are exceptionally welcoming to customers old and new and are as friendly as they are knowledgeable about the produce they sell. They are happy to advise on cut, quantity and how best to cook and serve their delicious food. One nomination for Pete said “Just as Redditch fills the gap between Birmingham and the countryside, Pete fills the gap between farm and plate.” Pete sources his meat and other produce from local suppliers whenever he can, he rears his own pigs and geese, cures his own bacon and makes his own pies, burgers, faggots and much more. His meat and other produce is so good his reputation has spread, ensuring that people travel from miles away to his shop. More than that, Pete’s enthusiasm for good food is inspiring new generations to discover the joy and taste of home cooked food and that is something worth celebrating.”