Record number of products win coveted food award

Forty-three products from 27 food and drink producers from across England and Wales are celebrating winning a prestigious National Trust Fine Farm Produce Award, the highest number of products to ever receive this much sought after ‘stamp’ of quality [1].

The awards, supported by Freedom Food [2] and now in their seventh year, celebrate the breadth and quality of produce grown, reared or made on special places owned or managed by the National Trust, including tenant farms, orchards and gardens.

Winners this year include stoneground flour, dark ale, apple juice, North Devon beef, venison, red wine and onion sausages and dressed brown crab.  They will all now be able to use the coveted Fine Farm Produce Award marque to help market their products.

Five new producers won awards and a total of 18 new products received the coveted ‘stamp’ for the first time, including pork chipolata sausages from Chyvarloe Farm in Cornwall and Wild Venison and Hazelnut Terrine from cnwd (pronounced Can-old) in south-west Wales.

This year’s overall winner – as voted by the team of seven judges [3] – was cooked salt beef, made from Sussex-cross cattle raised on the National Trust’s Polesden Lacey Estate in Surrey.

Farmer and butcher Steve Conisbee said: “We’ve been entering the awards for the past six years for various different products as we find it really helps give us a point of difference with customers.

“Customers can buy with confidence knowing that they are buying a quality product – which not only tastes good, thanks to the high quality pasture land on which it is bred – but has met various standards including high animal welfare.

“We take great pride in what we do and winning the award is really important to us and makes a real difference to our business.”

Umami Seasoning from The Mushroom Garden in North Wales won this year’s most innovative product award.

The Umami is made from dried shiitake mushroom powder grown in specially adapted growing rooms on National Trust land in the foothills of Snowdonia, dried seaweed and Anglesey sea-salt.  The seasoning is used as a meat tenderiser, or to enhance mushroom flavour in any mushroom based dishes.

Judges were impressed with both its taste and the innovation behind the product development.

Cynan Jones, owner of The Mushroom Garden, said: “We’re one of the National Trust’s smallest tenanted rural businesses, yet this year we have won one of the key awards!  We grow our shiitake and oyster mushrooms in four growing rooms and use other Welsh, local ingredients wherever possible in both the maim and the mushroom caviar, which also won an award this year, to give our products a unique and regional taste.”

Rob Macklin, national agriculture and food adviser at the National Trust and chair of the judging panel, said:  “This year’s award winning foods have really captured the essence of the special place where they have been grown, bred or produced.  It is our aim to really connect customers to where their food comes from and these awards are a great way for us to do this.

“Each award winner goes through a tough judging process.  Even before judging begins, all products have to meet provenance, environmental and animal welfare standards, and all primary ingredients must meet high production assurance [4].

“Products that successfully pass this check are subjected to a vigorous blind taste test by a panel of judges.

“The appearance, preparation, colour, aroma, texture and taste all have to be at least as good as a high quality, commercially available alternative, to win an award.  Judging is therefore harsh but fair.”

The National Trust cares for half a million acres of farmland across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  It works closely with its properties and tenants to help them develop high quality products.

Rob continued: “Since 2006, over 200 products have received a Fine Farm Produce Award and this year’s winners will join a group of some of the very best producers that the country has to offer.”

This year’s judging panel included Henrietta Green, food writer, broadcaster and founder of FoodLoversBritain.com; Lizzie Kamenetsky, food editor of delicious. magazine and Richard McGeown, chef patron at Couch’s Great House Restaurant in Cornwall.

A full list of the award winners and details of their produce can be found online at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/finefarmproduceawards

[1] The following National Trust tenants and in-hand producers have received a Fine Farm Produce Award for 2012.  Case studies for each winner are available on our FTP site – details above.

  • Aberdaron Seafood, Dressed Brown Crab, Gwynedd
  • Ashclyst Farm Dairy, Organic Whole Milk, Organic Semi-Skinned Milk and Organic Clotted Cream, Devon New producer and first time wins for all products
  • Barrington Court Estate, South Somerset Blended Apple Juice, Medium Farmhouse Cider, Dry Farmhouse Cider Somerset
  • Beef into Booths, Traditional Dry Aged Beef, North West and Yorkshire
  • Belton Estate, Fallow Deer Venison, Lincolnshire
  • Beningbrough Home Farm, Aberdeen Angus Beef, Yorkshire
  • Brockhampton Estate, Damson chutney, Worcestershire chutney wins for the first time
  • Burrow Farm, Red Devon Beef Topside Devon
  • Charlecote Park, Venison and Honey, Warwickshire New producer and first time wins for both products
  • Chyvarloe Farm, Pork Chipolata Sausages, Cornwall– New producer and first time win
  • Clyston Mill, Stoneground Flour, Devon
  • F Conisbee & Son Farming Partnership, Cooked Salt Beef, Pave Rump Medallions and Turkey Breast, Surrey– cooked salt beef – overall winner and first time entered. Rump medallions and turkey breast also win for the first time
  • cnwd Towy Valley Wild Venison and Hazelnut Terrine, CarmarthenshireNew producer and first time winner
  • Cwmcerrig Farm Shop – Dinefwr Venison and Dinefwr Venison, Red Wine and Onion Sausages, CarmarthenshireNew producer and first time wins for both products
  • Dolaucothi Estate, Lamb, Carmarthenshire
  • Home Farm, Red Devon Beef, Cornwall
  • Jacobi Brewery, Dark Ale, Carmarthenshire – first time win for dark ale
  • Killerton Estate, Apple Juice, Medium Dry Cider, Charcoal, Devon
  • Killerton Kitchen, Apple Chutney, Devon
  • Ochr Cefn Isa, Free-Range Eggs, Conwy, North Wales
  • Parke Farm, Apple Juice, Devon
  • Tanwood Products, Damson Chutney, Worcestershire first time win for this chutney
  • Trehill Farm, Pembrokeshire New Potatoes, Pembrokeshire
  • The Mushroom Garden, Mushroom Caviar and Umami Seasoning, Gwynedd – Umami wins most innovative product award and first time win for mushroom caviar
  • The Westerham Brewery Company, British Bulldog, Scotney Pale Ale, Scotney Best Bitter and William Wilberforce Freedom Ale, Kent – British Bulldog wins for the first time
  • Wimpole Home Farm, Pork Sausages, Organic Duck Eggs and Organic Chicken Eggs, Cambridgeshire
  • Yew Tree Farm, Herdwick Hogget, Cumbria

[2] Freedom Food is an arm of the RSPCA dedicated to farm animal welfare.  When you see the freedom Food logo you know that animals have been kept to strict RSPCA welfare standards.  Freedom Food is one of the key requirements for meat and dairy products entered into the Fine Farm Produce Awards to demonstrate higher welfare standards for farm animals.  See www.freedomfood.co.uk for more information.

[3] Seven judges presided on the panel this year:

  • Henrietta Green, founder of FoodLoversBritain.com and who has helped direct the awards since they began in 2006
  • Lizzie Kamenetzky, food editor of delicioius. Magazine
  • Bob Waller, Freedom Food
  • Richard McGeown, chef patron of Couch’s Great House Restaurant in Cornwall.  Richard, who prepared all the food for tasting, has been working on the awards for the past three years
  • Lynda Brewer, catering development manager at the National Trust
  • Phillippa Green, food brand licensing manager at the National Trust
  • Debbie Schreiber, deputy editor of the National Trust Magazine

[4] The criteria that need to be met before producers can receive the Fine Farm Produce Award are:

  • Each producer from a National Trust tenant farm, National Trust managed farm or farmland will be assessed against National Trust Environment Standards for Farms by National Trust staff.
  • All farm livestock and dairy products must be certified organic or Freedom Food (RSPCA) assured.  Arable and field crops are expected to be organic or hold the Leaf Marque or Conservation Grade.
  • Food and drink products are then subject to a taste panel where the key criteria are appearance, preparation, colour, aroma, texture and flavour.

Food and Farming at the National Trust

  • The National Trust believes in using quality, local, seasonal and sustainable food.   It matters that we know where our food comes from, how the crops were grown and that animals are properly cared for.
  • The National Trust helps and encourages farmers to manage their farms to high environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards.   We work with our farmers to help them add value to the food they produce and to get a better return.
  • The National Trust is the largest non-governmental landowner in Britain, owning approximately 250,000 hectares of land across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. More than 80 per cent of the Trust’s land is farmed or is dependent upon farming for its management.
  • There are 1,500 individual farm tenants including 700 whole farms on National Trust land with a further 1,300 separate areas of land rented out to farmers. Seventy per cent of farms on Trust land participate in agri-environment schemes.
  • The Trust directly manages 25 farms itself including Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire, Hafod-y-Llan in Snowdonia and Llanerchaeron in mid-Wales along with over 300 further areas of farmland.
  • Seven per cent of farms on National Trust land are registered as organic, including the award winning Coleshill Organics in Oxfordshire (three awards in the 2004 Organic Food Awards) This compares to a national average of four per cent.
  • The Trust’s cooks and catering teams look first to their property or estate for produce, and then to their county, their region and from around the UK.

The National Trust is passionate about using local and seasonal food in its 150 tearooms and cafés.  Many of this year’s Fine Farm Produce Award winners feature on the menus at their local National Trust property as well as selling either through their own farm shop, their local National Trust shop, direct to customers or on-line.

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