Beef and beer have come out on top at our 2014 Fine Farm Produce Awards, which recognise the very best food and drink grown and produced by our farms and estates across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Entries are scrutinised by food and drink experts and have to excel in the taste test. They also have to pass a checklist of environmental standards to guarantee the quality and origin of ingredients alongside high standards of production.
Hard works reaps rewards at Burrow Farm
Neil and Sally Grigg, who manage a herd of 130 traditional cattle at Burrow Farm on the Killerton Estate, were delighted to win the overall food award for their Red Ruby Devon beef, which is known for its tenderness and marbling.
‘Being recognised in this way gives us a massive sense of achievement for all the hard work we’ve undertaken,’ said Neil. ‘Of course, it’s a great thing to be able to tell our customers too and gives them additional confidence when buying our meat and is a sign of quality to them.’
Going green at the Westerham Brewery
Quality local ingredients, including Kentish Hops grown at Scotney Castle, and a green attitude helped the Westerham Brewery scoop the overall drinks award with its Scotney Bitter, famed for its deep mahogany colour and wonderful lingering taste.
‘The brewing operation is designed to be as green as possible and to minimise waste,’ said brewery founder Robert Wicks. ‘Hops make fantastic compost for flower beds, and are used at nearby Chartwell. Our brewer’s grain goes to the local dairy farmer, so in terms of waste there’s very little.’
What makes the Awards unique
As well as shining a spotlight on the fantastic food and drink produced at places we look after and by our 1,500 tenant farmers, the Fine Farm Produce Awards are also distinct for their vigorousness with taste alone not enough to secure success.
‘As Europe’s largest conservation charity it is really key for us that our producers reflect our whole reason for existing,’ said Rob Macklin, our Head of Food and Farming and chair of the panel of judges. ‘Customers can rely on the fact that every product not only tastes great, but is produced in a way that cares for the land.’
Quality wows judges
Our producers once again raised the bar at this year’s Awards and 17 new products were awarded the Fine Farm Produce Awards marque for the first time including fallow deer venison from Calke Abbey in Derbyshire and organic natural yoghurt from Ashclyst Farm in Devon.