National Champion: Lavenham Bucthers, Lavenham, Suffolk
Lavenham Butchers are at the top of their game. With a wide range of products and staying true to their ‘field to fork’ ethos, their total commitment to providing locally sourced, sustainable meat and produce shines through every inch of the shop. Coupled with their extensive knowledge and skill, and the unbeatable customer service they provide to their community, they have shown how they truly are integral to their community and to the future of the food industry.
Our Highly Commended winner is a butcher who is as passionate about ensuring all his customers needs are met while at the same time ensuring they only serve the best meat and game. From shooting their own venison to ensuring its provenance to only working with farmers that raise their animals with care and skill, while also looking after the local environment, they take great pride in their work. While they describe themselves as ‘old school’, we would say with a modern twist.
Local Food and Drink
The Champion of this category goes to a farm shop which has become a firm family favourite. Reassuring people about the provenance of the produce and products they offer, they can talk you through the whole story from pointing to the animals in the field, to the produce on the shelf. They are also looking after the environment and have woven eco-principles into the very fabric of the business from the meadow turfed roof grazed by sheep to the regenerative farming methods on the farm. This business is truly deserving of this Award.
Highly Commended: Blue Tin Produce, Ipsden, Oxfordshire
The Highly Commended Award in this category goes to a business that is innovative, creative, always true to their roots and full of enthusiasm for what they do. This husband-and-wife business has grown steadily over the past ten years. They now have a thriving smokery, busy farm shop and café selling their superb home reared free range Gloucester Old Spot and Wessex Saddleback pigs and Dexter cattle. This is a gem of a place with spectacular views over the Chilterns.
National Champion: The Cotley Inn, Chard, Somerset
The winner of the pub category is spearheaded by a young team who transformed this pub, reviving it from the sleepy slumber of previous years, giving it new ambition and life. This dynamic duo are championing local food, with a focus on produce from a 25 mile radius. They showcase meat from the local estate and introduce new delicious flavours and tastes with the drinks and food menu in the seasons yet keep the good old favourites there for the locals. It is now a central hub and the heart and soul of the local community and very deserving of this Award.
The Highly Commended Award goes to a pub that has come a long way since it was bought by the community in 2018. It offers a diverse array of services to match the diversity of the rural community it serves. From a café/deli providing events to prevent loneliness, to tourist accommodation and a cottage offering much needed affordable housing. This pub proves what communities can do when there is enthusiasm and support.
National Champion: Barn Farm Drinks, Manningtree, Essex
The Champion of the rural enterprise category goes to a business which is not only dedicated to giving us one of our five a day through their juices made from berries grown, pressed and bottled on their farm in Essex but they provide habitat for pollinators, energy for the farm, and support the local community. Barn Farm Drinks has three key values; natural, local and kind. A motto we could all stand by.
The Highly Commended Award in this category goes to a business which has dedicated itself to showcasing fantastic local produce through creating events that give amazing food and drink producers a much-needed platform to connect to the public. Through this, they are able to highlight Shropshire as the wonderful destination that it is.
Village Shop / Post Office
National Champion: Dale Stores, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
This vibrant and well stocked village shop is the hub and lifeline for people in this rural area, serving the community on so many levels. They offer great service and great produce and are constantly evolving to meet the needs of their community. They fought hard to keep the Post Office open but it has meant they were able to support lots of local businesses and keep the local economy strong. This village shop is a shining example of entrepreneurial spirit.
Highly Commended: The Lodsworth Larder, Lodsworth, West Sussex
The Highly Commended Award goes to a community shop which is a cross between a general village store and a farm shop. It prides itself on stocking produce from local nurserymen, bakers and butchers. It has also been a friendly face to all which has been so important to many over the last year. It is a tribute to all the volunteers hard work that this vital community shop has been going 10 years.
Barleylands run an education programme that is unique, and through fun interactive workshops, teaches children how their food is produced and about the work farmers and growers do to put food on our plates. It encourages the next generation to make healthy choices and enjoy real food and cooking, learning that cooking is a valuable life skill, and a truly enjoyable experience.
Education of the next generation was a passion for Clarissa and Barleylands excels at connecting children to the food they eat and how it is produced. They are a worthy winner.
Hunter Gather Cook is all about adventures with wild food. They are a foraging and cookery school that specialises in game butchery, wild cocktails, and outdoor cookery. The courses are designed to teach participants how to identify, process and cook a range of wild plants and animals to a high standard. The team feel that to really learn about wild food you have to immerse yourself in the outdoors completely. Everything from butchery to brewing is conducted in the woods to ensure a great learning experience that will ensure you view the surrounding landscape as your very own larder.