The North West 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 & 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 North West at the UK & Northern Ireland finals at Parliament in Westminster on 30 April. Tracy Casstles, who judged the region, introduces the winners she is putting forward for consideration by the national panel.
Local Food – joint winners - sponsored by JW Mettrick & Son Butchers Ltd of Glossop, Derbyshire
Joint Champions: The Cholmondeley Arms, Cholmondeley, Malpas, Cheshire, SY14 8HN. Tel:01829 720300, Website:www.cholmondeleyarms.co.uk, email: [email protected] Twitter: @CholmArms. Tracy says: “This quirky old pub used to be the school house for the Cholmondeley Estate and is a comfortable and original place to visit. It sources all its food from local suppliers and the staff can tell you exactly where it all came from. They are also passionate about game and offer 200 different gins plus local beers. And if you need to sleep all that off you’re in luck, they run a B&B in the Headmaster’s House opposite!”
Joint Champion: Sillfield Farm, Endmoor, Gatebeck, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 0HZ. Tel:01539 567609, Website: www.sillfield.co.uk Email:[email protected] Twitter: @Sillfieldfarm. Tracy says: “Sillfield Farm is a fantastic example of how to create great food and promote our rare breeds. Peter and Christine Gott farm wild boar, rare breed pigs, Herdwick sheep and rare breed poultry – all of which free-range on their Cumbrian farm. Their products are much in demand, supplying some of the country’s top restaurants and discerning foodies, locally, online and through their stall at London’s famous Borough Market.”
Village Shop / PO Champion - sponsored by Llama Karma Kafe, Brougham, Penrith
Ashton Hayes & Mouldsworth Community Shop, Kelsall Road, Ashton Hayes, Chester, Cheshire, CH3 8BH. Tel:01829 759023, Website: http://www.ourvillageshop.org.uk/ Email: [email protected]
Tracy says: “This shop is a real hub of the local community and the staff pride themselves on looking after their customers. It’s the sort of shop that if you were elderly and ill someone would pop round to see how you are. It has a tremendous range of local products, and they buy these daily, meaning it’s all really fresh. In fact the range is so great and the prices so competitive that some locals do all their shopping there. Having the community shop has also been the catalyst for a number of local schemes, including that to make Ashton Hayes the first carbon-neutral village in England.”
RF Burrows & Son, Bunbury Lane, Bunbury, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW6 9QR. Tel: 01829 260 342 Website: http://rf-burrowsandsons.co.uk/ Email: [email protected]
Tracy says: “This butchers’ has an enormous catchment area and deservedly so. People are happy to drive 20 miles to buy meat from this lovely shop. Burrows & Son directly supports four local farmers. All the meat is sourced from local free-range farms and they also sell added value items, like lamb loins with cranberry and black pudding or pork fillet stuffed with mature cheddar and spring onion, meaning this is the ideal place to buy for a kitchen supper or a big dinner party.”
Highly Commended: Oxtail & Trotter, 11 Cheshire Street, Audlan, Crewe, CW3 0AH. Tel: 01270 811793, Website:www.oxtailandtrotter.com Email: [email protected]&trotter.com Twitter: @oxtail_trotter
Tracy says: “Oxtail & Trotter’s motto is Great Food, Good Life and it lives up to this by stocking a great range of fresh and quality food from local suppliers and farms. They are also very ready to help with special cuts, are happy to prepare meat to your specifications and enjoy introducing something new to their customers, such as the Japanese Wagyu beef, which sold out recently before it even hit the counter.”
Start Up - sponsored by Hawkeshead Relish, Hawkshead, Cumbria
The Wellbeing Farm Plantation Road, Edgeworth, Bolton, Lancashire, BL7 0BY, 01204 852113, [email protected], www.thewellbeingfarm.co.uk Twitter: @CeliaFarm
Tracy says: “This is an amazingly varied business, with a cookery school, restaurant and coffee shop and a conference and wedding centre, where they also offer lifestyle and wellbeing courses. But the secret weapon is Celia herself, who is a dynamo of a person who is passionate about her business and bringing employment opportunities to the area. The Wellbeing Farm is a brilliant example of how a hill farm that’s struggling to stay sustainable can be transformed into a thriving and innovative business.”