Countryside Alliance Awards

 

COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE

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The East of England's Champions of 2012

The lucky winners will go on to represent the region at the UK & Ireland finals at Parliament in Westminster on 13th March. Regional Director William Burton and his judging team introduce the winners:

 

Local Food

Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, 01858 464 838 www.farndonfieldsfarmshop.co.uk

“This judge was impressed! This is exactly the type of rural business that deserves recognition for the employment it affords, the sourcing of local produce, much of it grown on the farm within view of the shop, and the facilities that it provides the local community. 75% of the produce sold is local including meat, game, cheese, bread and 40 varieties of fruit and vegetables grown on-farm. No danger of horsemeat here, traceability is total. Information around the shop shows how food is produced. Local Food means that in this shop the daily bread travels 300 metres and a lady called Kim bakes homemade cakes two miles away and most of the other produce comes from within the county of Leicestershire or within an hour’s travel. There is also a nursery and locally produced gifts and cards are also sold. The café sells plenty of local produce and is a hub for many locals including the elderly and the local WI, and Farndon Fields also supplies many local pubs, restaurants and schools in a bid to encourage local, seasonal eating.”

 

Village Shop

Orford General Store, Orford, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 01394 450219 www.orfordgeneralstore.com


“An absolute gem!! Penny Teale opened this store/post office/coffee shop/ delicatessen three years ago and has worked wonders. She is utterly dedicated to providing a real alternative to supermarket shopping and has transformed a tired and hardly open shop and tearoom into a thriving business that is open 7-days a week (with Post Office five days a week). The shop greatly supports the local community, sells a wealth of local produce and has become the hub of the village. There is a 'community scarf' knitting project where people drop in and knit a few inches/feet whilst having a natter. The scarf, made from donated wool, is presently about 8 feet long, and will eventually be auctioned to raise funds for the Sports pavilion. Everything raised through the shop via fundraising events goes to the Pavilion so Christmas carol concerts, cheese and wine evenings etc all benefit the village directly. Penny has recently obtained another premises in the village and opened a butchers. Supplied by Clarkes of Bramfield and local shoots, this is another welcome addition. Penny feels that winning this award can help highlight her mission to get our village shops back into business, and is hopeful that she can inspire others to try and do the same. The Countryside Alliance is delighted to reward her, though we know that Penny will consider that her entire village has won this award, not just her!”

 

Enterprise

Carrick Farm Enterprises Dereham, Norfolk 01362 637457 www.carrickandson.co.uk

“This an outstanding example of how to integrate a business into the rural community that it supports. Since 1975 the gregarious John Carrick has been honing, developing and planning this exceptional enterprise and the benefits to the local community and economy are numerous. Redundant farm buildings in the centre of the village have been converted, and extended as the need has arisen, to house a village pub, butchers, village shop and delicatessen which offer essential facilities for the village as well as employment in a rural area. Further redundant buildings have been converted into holiday cottages, B&B facilities and a wedding /conference venue. The financial value to local businesses was evident on the day that I visited as the catering facilities were being upgraded. Many other facilities are evident and yet another part was being planned as I was there to open a tea room on a popular walk on a footpath through the Welland valley where the farm is situated- again offering more work for a local person. The “green” credentials for the enterprise are solar showers at the camp site- again, more employment, and a biomass boiler at Castle Farm. A very worthy winner.”

 

Butcher

Chapman's Butchers, Baldock, Hertfordshire http://www.chapmansbutchers.com/ 01462 892359


“Chapman’s Butchers is an outstanding family run butcher shop in the market town of Baldock. David Chapman is a fourth generation butcher and prides himself on the excellent service and fantastic products available in the shop. As well as traditional items, Chapmans sell biltong and droewors that they cure themselves on the premises. All meats are cured and smoked on site. There is a huge selection of game available, when I visited woodcock and teal were displayed alongside rabbit and venison among other game meats. Pies, pasties, sausage rolls and scotch eggs are available from the hot counter. Whilst, the freezer is packed full of homemade ready meals including lasagne (non-horse!) and moussaka. There is also a huge selection of cheeses, olives and local honey and jam. Chapman’s is a hugely popular local butcher and was buzzing with customers even on a weekday morning. The staff (twelve local people are employed here) go out of their way to advice customers on different types and cuts of meat. This is, without doubt, one of the best butchers that I have visited and should be a strong contender for this award category at UK & Ireland level.”

 

Start up category

Local Food (& More)! Little Canfield, Dunmow, Essex, www.localfoodandmore.org.uk/


“This business started trading in July 2012 and currently has 20 part-time volunteers, with more people wanting to be involved in the Growing Programme this Spring. The motivation is to reduce rural isolation, reconnect people with the countryside, provide a focal point for the village, host events, encourage & foster interest in food provenance (particularly heritage fruit & vegetables) through a market hub and to offer horticulture training opportunities for young people and volunteering placements for the wider community. Phase 2 of the project (a five year plan to refurbish a Grade 2 Listed Essex Barn as a permanent café/multi-functional space) will also enable the team to promote more aspects of rural Essex life, through exhibitions and film screenings. They also hope to extend the existing smallholding to showcase rare-breed livestock. The principal activities are a weekend Café facility (The Green Café), primarily for users of the neighbouring ‘Flitch Way’ (Essex Country Linear Park & Sustrans National Route 16); a Seasonal Growing Programme, using a polytunnel & a brassica tunnel to grow fresh produce for the Café & markets; a bike hire/bike maintenance facility; monthly food & craft markets. Social aims are to provide training courses in horticulture, particularly for young people who lack the formal qualifications for entry to Writtle College (the college will accept candidates with practical experience in lieu of qualifications). A great way to bring people together through food!”