Countryside Alliance Awards

 

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And the East of England’s Rural Oscars go to………..

 The East of England Champions in the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards (aka the Rural Oscars) have been announced, with top local businesses now going forward to the UK & Northern Ireland final.

 

The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage through our small hard-working businesses. They are now in their ninth year and have become the definitive rural business award to win.

The lucky winners will go on to represent the East of England at the UK & Northern Ireland finals at Parliament in Westminster on 30th April. Countryside Alliance Eastern Regional Director and Judge William Burton introduces the winners:

 

Local Food Champion

The Country Victualler, Ashvale Road, Tuxford, Nottinghamshire, NG22 0NH, 01777 874 700, www.alderton.co.uk/, Twitter: @country_vic

William says: “The ethos of the Country Victualler is simply to produce the best food from the best local ingredients, and this is an ethos which chimes with the way the public wants to eat. Since the horsemeat scandal consumers seem to be coming back to the traditional, seasonal, local way of eating and we are pleased to honour that with a fine example here. I was bowled over by the productivity of this company – this was only matched by the quality of food produced, which is all produced from locally sourced businesses and everything is produced on site – even the pastry for the pies. This is a role model of how a small country business should be run and the end product is delicious!”

Highly Commended – Roots at Thorpe Farm, Thorpe Farm, Barkby Thorpe, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE7 3QE, 0116 269 2526, [email protected], www.rootsthorpefarm.co.uk

Highly Commended – The Berkeley Arms, 59 Main Street, Wymondham, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE14 2AG, 01572 787587, [email protected], www.theberkeleyarms.co.uk

Twitter: @TheBerkeleyArms

 

Village Shop/ Post Office category Champion

Sarratt Village Stores & Post Office, The Green, Sarratt, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 6BJ, 01923 262106, [email protected], [email protected], www.sarrattvillage.org, Twitter: @SarrattShop

William says: “I was greatly impressed with this project – it is the heart of the Sarratt community and, in addition to the Assistant Managers and the Post Mistress, is run by a mighty 40 volunteers, which is a testament to the local area’s determination to maintain the service. The previous owners were looking to sell the shop on, prompting a community-wide campaign to buy the shop with funds from over 85 local families (the previous owners are also shareholders, showing their continuing commitment). The shop has only been open in this format since July 2011, but has already made an indelible impression. The range of products available for customers is dizzying, including “Village Veggies” grown in a garden to the pack of the shop which is a wonderful way of sourcing stock, with food yards not miles. There is also Sarratt Apple Juice made from Sarratt garden apples. There is also a café which is popular and the shop is actively involved with many local groups including the WI, Primary School, Church, doctor’s surgery (prescriptions can be picked up from the shop) as well as the local horticultural society. This is truly a community venture that deserves to have a place in the national finals – and given that a £19million winning lottery ticket was sold in Sarratt, perhaps there is a lucky streak running through the village?”

 

 

Butcher Category Champion

Odling Bros Ltd, 54 High Street, Navenby, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN5 0ET, 01522 810228, [email protected], www.odlingbros.co.uk, Twitter: @odlingsbutchers

William says: “It has been incredibly hard to pick a winner in this category as all of the butchers involved are exceptional. Odling Bros stands out, however, not just for the range of delicious produce on sale and the support given to local farmers and producers, but because the Odling brothers are committed to education, visiting local schools with sausage making equipment to show children how they are made, followed by a competition to make up new recipes for sausages which are then made up and sold in (small!) quantities in the shop. I believe our butchers have a key role to play in educating the next generation about where their food comes from – no one knows more about meat, provenance, cuts and cooking, so butchers are well able to take youngsters through from farm to fork and enthuse them about the benefits of local produce. The Odling brothers are also looking ahead to the future and have tremendous vision. A vegetarian pie-range shows that they want everyone in the community to have access to local produce and to be able to shop with them. They plan to expand to have an outlet in a garden centre, taking their produce to an audience that maybe doesn’t come into the butcher shop regularly. All the while their busy shop is open seven days a week. We had so many nominations for Odling Bros from devoted customers and I can entirely see why.”

Highly Commended: Brookfield Farm, Aston End Road, Aston, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG2 7EU, 01438 880 228, [email protected], www.brookfield-farm.co.uk

 

 

Start-up category Champion

Young and Country, Cawston Hall, Little Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 0PH, 07983 530580, [email protected], www.youngandcountry.co.uk @YoungandCountry

William says: “Here is an excellent example of a young countrywoman pursuing her interest in all things country and promoting them to a wider audience, at the same time helping others to discover a career and life in the countryside. The stated aim of Young and Country on its website is “To involve, inform and inspire the next generation of farmers, land owners and country sport enthusiasts”. This is a laudable aim as we know all too well how hard it is to start out in the countryside these days, so to have this supportive hub is an excellent thing.  It is early days yet, but a visit to the web page is full of ideas for the future. I believe that this is just the type of younger person setting out on a career in the countryside that we should be aiding and promoting, I am very proud to do that here.”

 

Ends…

 

·         The East of England region is comprised of: Norfolk, Suffolk, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Essex