Peelham Farm, the family-run mixed farm based at Foulden in Berwickshire, has been honoured with the second annual Clarissa Dickson Wright Award for contribution to food, farming and education. The Award, set up to carry on the legacy of the late cook, author and “Two Fat Ladies” broadcaster Clarissa Dickson Wright, was presented by the Environment Secretary at the Houses of Parliament on 4th February.
Clarissa’s great friend, Baroness Mallalieu, who is President of the Countryside Alliance, presented the Award to Denise and Chris Walton from Peelham at a Parliamentary reception for the Countryside Alliance awards this week. Baroness Mallalieu helped to select Peelham as the winners, based on criteria Clarissa herself had set.
Baroness Mallalieu told the Parliamentary reception: “We have been mindful of what mattered most to Clarissa, namely a focus on strong animal husbandry, support for slow and artisan food and a platform for the efforts being made to foster our farming heritage through measures such as protecting rare breeds.
With this in mind, our winner’s philosophy fits the bill. They practice ‘sustainable self-reliance’ and their motto is ‘Love the land, love the animal, love their meat’. Peelham Farm is located in Berwickshire, Southern Scotland. A family-run organic mixed farm, it is perched on the water-shed between the lower reaches of Whiteadder Water and the Eye Water, with panoramic views of the Tweed Valley and the North Sea.
“As an integrated organic farm butcher business they have skilled-up staff to handle the rigorous quality assurance, animal welfare and transparency expectations of the organic system to produce quality products with trusted provenance. Peelham Farm’s own “Meat Manifesto” is an initiative of which Clarissa would have approved enormously. A guarantee of quality the manifesto states that Peelham Farm produce “is good, clean and fair”. It goes on to explain what “good, clean and fair” means in husbandry, environmental and slow-reared taste terms, highlighting the fact that Peelham animals are able to express their natural foraging and grazing characteristics.
Pictured (left to right) Lord Walton of Detchant, Chris Walton, Environment Secretary Liz Truss MP, Denise Daly-Walton, Angus Walton, Peter Gott (the inaugural winner of this Award and part of the "Clarissa committee" to take our friend's legacy forward.)
“Education is a key part of the ethos and Peelham hosts several schools visits each year, working closely with the Royal Highland Education Trust and encouraging people to learn where their food comes from via butchery courses.
“A proudly ethical approach also means veal is no longer off the menu: field-raised calves live free-range with their mothers for around nine months, producing a ruby veal that is both delicious and compassionate
“Peelham also regularly have veterinary, agricultural and culinary skills students on work-placements with them, where they learn about all of aspects of farming and food production.
“The 2015 Clarissa Dickson Wright Award winners have combined farming heritage, rare breeds and organic production into an enterprise that not only produces high quality food, but is environmentally sustainable and recognises that the key to the future of farming is educating consumers, not preaching at them.”
Denise Walton said: “We are delighted to win this Countryside Alliance Champion of Champions award. Our ethos is to provide quality, unadulterated food and to build resilience into our farm so that that it’s there for the next generation of our family and customers.”
• Denise and Chris Walton, Peelham Farm, Foulden, Berwickshire, TD15 1UG. www.peelham.co.uk/. Tel 01890 781328
• The 10th annual Countryside Alliance Awards (aka Rural Oscars) were also presented at Parliament
• Traditional Business Champion of Champions: James and Emma Nolan, Nolan’s of Kilcullen, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare 045 481229http://nolansofkilcullen.com @EmmaNolan2012
• Enterprise Champion of Champions: Pat and John Pimlott, Park Hill Farm, Hales, Market Drayton, Shropshire 01630 652178www.parkhillfarm.co.uk Twitter: @ppimlott
• Village Shop/ Post Office Champion of Champions: Phil and Jo James, Ludwell Stores and Post Office, Ludwell, Shaftesbury, Dorset, 01747 828227 http://ludwellstores.co.uk Twitter: @LudwellStores
• Local Food Champion of Champions: Oliver Paul, Suffolk Food Hall, Wherstead, Ipswich, Suffolk 01473 786610 www.suffolkfoodhall.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Twitter: @suffolkfoodhall
• Find out more about the Awards at www.countrysideallianceawards.org.uk
• The 2015 Awards will open to public nomination in late summer
• Follow us on Twitter @CAAwards and use the hashtag #RuralOscars