Twenty-two food and drink producers from across England and Wales are celebrating after winning a prestigious Fine Farm Produce Award from the National Trust.
The awards, now in their sixth year, celebrate the breadth and quality of produce grown, reared or made on land owned or managed by the National Trust, including tenant farms, orchards and gardens.
A total of 33 products from 22 producers – including dressed brown crab, red Devon beef, stoneground flour and light golden ale – have received Fine Farm Produce Awards. They will now be able to use the coveted Fine Farm Produce Award marque on their products. This year’s winning products were chosen from a very high standard of 47 separate entries.
Five new producers won an award this year and a total of 18 new products received the coveted stamp of approval for the first time, including the Red Devon beef from Big Red Cow in Somerset and Parke Farm apple juice.
The beef was extremely popular with all the judges who thought it was “full of flavour with a great texture”, whereas judges considered the juice to be “characterful”, with a “nice sharpness and distinctive taste.”
This year’s overall winner was hand-picked dressed brown crab, fished from the seas surrounding the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales.
Steve Harrison, who runs Aberdaron Seafood with his wife Natalie and business partner Idwal Moore, said: “This has been our busiest year ever and we’re very happy to have been chosen as overall winner this year. Winning in 2008 and 2009 really made a huge difference to our business. We supply a lot of businesses locally, but we even have a restaurant in London using our crab now.
“The award really is important to us. It’s good to have the recognition from the judges and it also really helps raise our profile.”
Rob Macklin, national agriculture and food adviser at the National Trust, said: “To even qualify for judging, all products meet strict criteria of provenance and environmental and animal welfare standards, and all primary ingredients must meet high production assurance.
“Products that successfully pass this check are subjected to a vigorous blind taste test by a panel of judges. The appearance, preparation, colour, aroma, texture and taste all have to be at least as good as a high quality, commercially available alternative, to win an award. Judging is therefore harsh but fair.”
The National Trust cares for half a million acres of farmland across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It works closely with its properties and tenants to help them develop high quality products.
Rob continued: “Since 2006, over 150 products have received a Fine Farm Produce Award and this year’s winners will join a group of some of the very best producers that the country has to offer.”
This year’s judging panel included Henrietta Green, food writer, broadcaster and founder of FoodLoversBritain.com; Karen Barnes, editor of delicious. magazine and Richard McGeown, chef patron at Couch’s Great House Restaurant in Cornwall.