Yoghurt, wine and Welsh potatoes top 10th National Trust awards
Producers of yoghurt, English sparkling wine and Pembrokeshire new potatoes took the top honours in the National Trust Fine Farm Produce awards, announced at a dinner at Selfridges’ Oxford Street store on September 1.
Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, the awards encourage and promote producers based on the conservation charity’s 1,500 tenant farms and estates throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
While many only supply National Trust shops, cafés or restaurants close to where they are based, others – like The Mushroom Garden in Snowdonia and Westerham Brewery in Kent – sell to other retailers and caterers regionally or nationally.
With a record 62 products from 37 producers taking a Fine Farm Produce Award this year, Ashclyst Farm Dairy, based on the Trust’s Killerton estate in east Devon, took the overall best food trophy for its organic natural yoghurt.
Martyn and Lorraine Glover have held the 200-acre Ashclyst farm since 1998 and built a processing unit three years ago to add value to the milk from their herd of 80 Meuse Rhine Issel cows.
Charles Palmer Vineyards near Winchelsea in East Sussex was the overall drinks winner, in its first year of entering the awards, with its English sparkling wine.
Charles Palmer has been a Trust tenant since 1998 and turned some of the land into a vineyard in 2006 He now has 11,000 hand-pruned Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines growing over 15 acres.
In a special award to mark 10 years of the scheme, Welsh potato grower Trehill Farm was named Producer of the Decade for its consistent performance since 2007. Tenants Peter and Gina Smithies who grow potatoes across 600 acres on the Pembrokeshire coast, have entered and won an award for their crop every year.
The annual award ceremony was this year held at Vintage Salt restaurant, on Selfridges’ rooftop, to tie in with the store’s yearly Meet the Makers campaign.
As well as undergoing blind tastings by a team that this year included members of Selfridges’ food team, awards entrants had to pass a checklist of environmental standards to guarantee the quality and origin of ingredients and high standards of production.