Countryside Alliance Awards

 

COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE

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And the South East’s Rural Oscars go to………..

 The South East of England’s Champions in the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards (aka the Rural Oscars) have been announced, with top local businesses now going forward to the UK 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 region at the UK finals at Parliament in Westminster on 30th April. Regional Director Michelle Nudds introduces the winners:

 

Local Food Champion:  MB Farms, The Street, Stockbury, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME9 7UJ, 01795 842401, [email protected], www.mbfarms.co.uk, Twitter: @MBFarmsKent

Michelle says: “Here is a farm shop with butchery, Post Office and a farm on which beef and lamb is reared. Started in 1998, MB Farms aimed to fill a gap in the market to provide high quality and home-reared meat, a prophetic and trail blazing move back then, astutely bringing the customer closer to the produce they are buying, which is exactly what the local food movement still seeks to do. This concern for the customer and providing them with quality produce and service is evident – there are four fully qualified Master Butchers in the MB Farm Shop who butcher on site and provide advice, top meat and delicious pies. MB Farms also supply the best quality produce from across the South East, supporting other farmers and producers. With low food miles, incredible customer service and the best produce you can buy, MB Farms are worthy winners.”


Highly Commended: Godmersham Game, Mystole, Nr Canterbury, Kent, CT4 7BT, 07870 656967, [email protected], Twitter: @GodmershamGame (moved from butcher category)

Highly Commended: Wild Game Direct, Highfields Cottage, Denner Hill, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16 0HY, 01494 860060, www.wildgamedirect.co.uk (moved from butcher category)

 

Village Shop/Post Office Champion:  Etchingham Shop & Deli, High Street, Etchingham, East Sussex, TN19 7AP, 01580 819442, www.etchinghamvillage.co.uk/de-etchingham-cic/shop-deli, Twitter: @etchingham

Michelle says: “Last year’s start-up winners triumph again. It’s interesting to see how our start-ups continue and it is a delight to see the village shop at Etchingham is going from strength to strength. As well as being the heart of the community, and indeed the community was instrumental in Neil and Sian taking the shop over, Etchingham Community Shop succeeds in catering not just to the older residents, but also the commuters in the area. The shop is impressive in that that Neil is a chef so utilises the products in the shop to make ready meals, pies etc from the stock so there’s no food waste. His produce is famous too, with people ringing ahead so they don’t miss out on his pies and quiches. The shop stocks over 2000 lines and supports local artisans including the Lighthouse Bakery and Sedlescombe English Vineyard.  This shop is a lovely, atmospheric place and they work really hard to respond to what the locals need.”

 

Butcher Champion:  Clays of Buckingham, 6 Market Hill, Buckingham,Buckinghamshire, MK18 1JN, 01280 815457, www.claysofbuckingham.co.uk,  Twitter: @ClaysBuckingham

Michelle says: “This place is an inspiration! It’s in the middle of Buckingham so of course it is not really rural, but Clay’s have taken on big supermarkets and are winning. There has been a shop there for over 100 years. Jackie Bramham has taken on the mantle from her father and she runs the business with enthusiasm, supporting local farmers whose meat she buys (in addition to her own family farm, where father and brother supply much of the meat). Clay’s supplies many schools, hotels and restaurants as well as customers in the shop, and Jackie and her team are happy to speak to new customers to take them through cuts, recipes and tips. It is pleasing that many people who only have experience of the cuts on offer at supermarkets are now branching out and seeking the advice of butchers. Education is key here, re-connecting consumers with where their food comes from and celebrating great produce. Taster days and other events help to draw customers in and further connect them with their food. Clay’s make their own pies and sausages on the premises and they are fantastic. This is a worthy winner as it is an excellent butchers, part of the community and leading the charge in supporting our farming sector.”

Highly commended: Meat in the Square, 5 The Square, Angmering, Littlehampton, West Sussex, BN16 4EA, 01903 771771, [email protected], www.meatinthesquare.co.uk

 

Start Up:  Ten Mile Menu, Spring Coppice Cottage,Spring Coppice Lane, Speen, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0SU, 07967 328 455, [email protected],  www.tenmilemenu.co.uk,  Twitter: @TenMileMenu

Michelle says: “Steve Sidhu is incredibly savvy and his mission is to “address the gap in the local supply chain between high-quality farmers/ independent producers and shoppers keen to eat great local food.” He has absolutely succeeded by using a website as an online food shop which stocks local producers – one look at the website will impress you, the roster of suppliers including family farms supplying beef, pork, veal, poultry and dairy as well as suppliers of muesli, pasta sauce, rapeseed oil, game and eggs. It truly is an ingenious idea and is a shop window and route to market for suppliers, taking the stress out of direct marketing for them. It also brings local food straight to the consumer’s front door, which is exceptional. Steve’s approach is also backed by smart marketing and PR and his green Land Rover logo is distinctive. This co-operative approach to boosting local food producers and in turn local communities is commendable and I can’t wait to see what Steve does next!”