Judge's comments: "Justine Paul has been described as a local dynamo who was so passionate about local produce that she stepped in to save her local farmers market. Now running six flourishing farmers markets in Suffolk, Justine has ensured that access to local food has never been easier. These markets act as community hubs and springboards for local producers to develop their businesses, creating a food community that is nourishing, and sustaining and that customers feel a part of."
London Road, Flamstead, St. Albans, Hertfordshire AL3 8HT
Judge's comments: "The Pop-Up Farm is a fantastic and innovative way to reconnect people with farming, the countryside and where their food is derived from. In a fun and informative way the Pop-Up Farm educates both adults and children and will have a positive impact on future generations."
Peterstow, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Judge's comments: "Two Farmers Crisps have brought together two of the nation's favourite passions – crisps and the environment. Farmers, Mark Green and Sean Mason, have developed a sustainable crisp brand using their own Herefordshire potatoes but their greatest invention is the fact they are the first crisp brand to use a 100% compostable packet which will biodegrade in just 26 weeks in a home composter. No longer do we need to worry about the impact our favourite snack is having on the environment."
Allerburn, Heddon-on-the-Wall, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Northumberland NE15 0HB
Judge's comments: "This is a progressive, family run business who are leading the way in animal care. Diversifying from pig breeding 30 years ago they have grown this business into being a 5 star boarding kennels with excellent facilities. They truly care both about the pets and the owners. The aim has always been to be the 'home from home' for the animals they board and as pet owners demands are changing, they are also evolving as a business to meet these needs."
Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8DU
Judge's comments: "A very impressive business. After raising the profile of the Herdwick sheep through his Herdy brand, Spencer Hannah wanted to support the farmers he had met. Herdy Sleep now takes all the fleeces produced by five local farmers, paying them around double the market value and these fleeces are used in the manufacture of Herdy Sleep mattresses, toppers and pillows. The partnership with Harrison Spinks mattresses is successful and is breathing new life into the area."
Judge's comments: Joel Eastman's passion for local food and drink led him to develop Grape and Grain Tours, which takes you on an adventure in the British countryside where you can sample the finest wines, beers and spirits the South of England has to offer. With Grape & Grain Tours being the designated driver, it means that everyone can safely enjoy these thriving rural food and drink businesses."
Kings View Farm, Windsor Lane, Little Kingshill, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 0DL
Judge's comments: James and Chenice are driven by their desire to educate the next generation to where their food comes from. Their vision is to get children more involved in outdoor/farm life, given the shift over the years to inactivity and computer-based activities. Through open farm days and VIP lambing to visiting schools this couple are an inspiration to farming.
Hartgrovehill Hill Farm, Musbury, Axminster, Devon EX13 8TB
Judge's comments: "Fortis Clothing are an innovative company which have developed a fantastic range of high-performance countryside clothing that lasts. Manufactured on their family farm in Dorset this rural employer is committed to building skills locally with its apprenticeship scheme and to supporting other local businesses. Oliver is the heart and soul of the business and it shows you what can be achieved with hard work and determination."
Corwen LL21 0DP
Judge's comments: "South Denbighshire Partnership can only be described as a phenomenal social enterprise which has enriched the lives of so many vulnerable and isolated members of rural communities. Canolfan Ni plays host to a number of activities which encourage the participation from some of society's most vulnerable people. This enterprise would not function as it does without the huge dedication and commitment that the staff and volunteers provide.
Simonstone Hall, Hawes, North Yorkshire DL8 3LY
Judge's comments: "This impressive country house hotel, run by young architect Jake Dinsdale, is unashamedly true to its roots as hunting lodge, supporting country sports of all types. They are very good at promoting themselves, their community and other local businesses and producers in the process. Jake is working through the premises updating and improving and is creating a wonderful country retreat."