Accolades galore as South West Farmers mark 10th Fine Farm Produce Awards at Selfridges

Double Cream from Ashclyst Farm a winner in the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards Products

Double Cream from Ashclyst Farm a winner in the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards Products

24 South West products (62 nationally) were bestowed with one of the food and farming industry’s highest honours, a National Trust Fine Farm Produce Award, at a ceremony in London last night.

It was the first time – and fitting for the 10th anniversary – that so many products met or exceeded the strict judging criteria of the conservation charity’s food and farming awards.

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Retracing the past with new orchard

Tyntesfield Orchard (c) National Trust Peter Hall

Over the next five years Tyntesfield in Wraxall, near Bristol, will see in the region on 350 fruit trees planted as the estate seeks to reconnect with its rich food growing past.

Already well underway, this major conservation project will see staff, volunteers and visitors building tree guards and planting hedgerows, whilst also learning how to prune and care for the trees on the National Trust estate. The team will harvest a range of fruits, deliver workshops and produce cider, apple juice and other products.

Planting will be spread over the course of the project, with the first batch of trees already in place. The new orchard will be split into two sections, with five acres of heritage apples and six acres of cider and juice apples, set out in a traditional spacing framework. The heritage orchard will act as a gene bank for local Somerset and Bristol fruit varieties, such as Summer Stibbert and Poor Man’s Profit, which date back to the 1830s. The area will be managed using traditional methods providing excellent conservation benefits, with swathes of wildflowers, diverse habitats of dead wood and wild areas.

In the cider and juice area there will be a more linear approach to planting as yield and accessibility will be important, and this part of the orchard will be managed with the help of grazing sheep. The estate will be planting cider and juice varieties such as Yarlington Mill and Porters Perfection, which will be transformed into bottled drinks with the aim of them being available to buy from the Tyntesfield estate shop.

As the orchard project progresses, Bristol based schools, growing projects, city farms, and local residents will be able to get involved by learning skills in grafting, pruning and plant care, and by taking part in events and workshops.

Janine Connor, a Ranger at Tyntesfield said: ‘This exciting project will not only improve nature conservation and biodiversity, but will help us build relationships with local communities and eventually generate income for further conservation. We are looking to grow a mix of traditional and modern varieties of apple and pear, as well as plum, crab apple, medlars and quinces. The orchard is open to visitors to walk around, and is currently filled with beautiful wildflowers.’

Janine and the team at Tyntesfield are following in the footsteps of the estate’s Victorian owner Antony Gibbs who presided over 3000 acres of arable, pasture farmland and orchards. He built Home Farm, introduced cattle to the estate and pursued the latest developments in agricultural technology. Today the estate looks after 540 acres of gardens, woodland, parkland and arable, which are open to visitors 364 days a year.

Perry Pear Weekend at Dyrham Park

Dyrham Park will be hosting a harvest celebration on 18-19 October. Over the last few weeks the estate has been joined by its visitors in collecting pears from its orchard, so that the fruit can be turned into ‘Dyrham Park Perry’. The celebratory weekend will be the first opportunity to try this year’s batch along with mulled and hot pear juice varieties. Continue reading…

South West producers walk away with top Fine Farm Produce Awards including coveted ‘Overall Food Winner’

Neil & Sally Grigg - Burrow Farm - Red Ruby Devon Beef

Neil & Sally Grigg – Burrow Farm – Red Ruby Devon Beef

Neil and Sally Grigg’s Ruby Red Devon beef from Burrow Farm on the Killerton estate nr Exeter, has earned them the top title of ‘Overall Food Winner’ in the coveted Fine Farm Produce Awards, presented at Tyntesfield near Bristol today (2 September).

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Baking on a roll at the Edgcumbe on Cotehele Quay

Jenny Freeman baking at the Edgcumbe on Cotehele Quay

Jenny Freeman baking at the Edgcumbe on Cotehele Quay

The Great British Bake Off has nothing on the bread, rolls and cakes at the Edgcumbe tea-room on Cotehele Quay.

‘I may be biased, but I think our baked goods are especially delicious,’ says Vanessa Channings, Edgcumbe Co-Supervisor at the National Trust property near Saltash. ‘That’s thanks to our head baker, Jenny Freeman. In my mind, Jenny IS the Edgcumbe. Customers love her. One couple have been coming for Jenny’s cakes every Sunday for years. He has lemon drizzle and she has coffee cake.’

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New tenants for Britain’s most southerly farm

The National Trust on the Lizard Peninsula is delighted to announce that a new 20 year tenancy has been offered to Rona and Nevil Amiss to take on mainland Britain’s most southerly farm.

Tregullas farm, sitting on the tip of the Lizard was acquired by the National Trust in the early 1990s and is closely linked to the local community of the Lizard as well as providing much of the feeding ground for the first breeding pair of Cornish choughs in the county. Situated either side of the footpath toLizard Point, hundreds of thousands of visitors pass through the farm on their way to the most southerly point.

When the previous tenant at Tregullas Farm left, the National Trust consulted widely with the local community at the Lizard to ask them what they wanted from the farm that sits between the village andLizard Point. Local people responded that a working farm was vital and that local food, wildlife, access to walks and views were important too and a number of local community groups were formed to develop ideas.

One looked at  new uses for old buildings, another at a community food enterprise and a third at how wildlife could be allowed to thrive on the farm and these were drawn together to form the basis of the new tenancy. In addition, large numbers of visitors make their way toLizard Pointeach year straight through the middle of the farm, so any new farmer was going to need to be keen on sharing the farm with many others.

Alastair Cameron, Property Manager for the National Trust on the Lizard said: “We are delighted with the response we received from the Lizard community and for their interest in their local environment and also with the hundreds of applications and responses we received from the farming community. We are really pleased that Rona and Nevil will be taking on the tenancy at Tregullas and think that they will do a fantastic job in farming at this amazing place.

The Amiss’ and their five children have been farming at Higher Fingle farm in Devon for the past eight years and have developed a varied business in cattle, sheep, duck eggs and goat meat, selling both locally and further afield. They intend to continue this successful business but also to launch into new enterprises that will suit the new farm, to work with the local community and to make the place more enjoyable to visitors, with farm open days and other events planned.

“We are really excited to be coming to the Lizard later this year” Rona Amiss said, “we are looking forward to working with the local community to look after Tregullas and to make the most of what it has to offer. We think it is a fantastic opportunity to develop what we have been doing at Higher Fingle farm into something bigger and better and we hope to achieve a lot of what the village said was important to them”

Dan Meek, the Land Agent managing the Devon County Council Farms Estate worked with the Amiss’ for many years “We’ll be sorry to see them go as they have contributed a lot to Higher Fingle Farm, to the local community and to other farmers in the area but it’s great to see them progress to a larger farm and I’m sure they will make a great success of their new enterprise

The new tenancy will start from September this year.

South West producers win coveted food awards

Organic milk, cider, beef, apple juice and flour are just some of the South West food products that have won a prestigious National Trust Fine Farm Produce Award.  43 products from across England and Wales (15 in the south west) won a much coveted award, the highest number of products to ever receive this much sought after ‘stamp’ of quality.

The awards, supported by Freedom Food 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. 

All the producers will now be able to use the coveted Fine Farm Produce Award marque to help market their products. 

Two new south west producers and 4 new products received the coveted ‘stamp’ for the first time, including pork chipolata sausages from Chyvarloe Farm inCornwalland Organic Whole Milk, Organic Semi-Skinned Milk and Organic Clotted Cream from Ashclyst Farm Dairy inDevon.

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.

“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 acrossEngland,WalesandNorthern 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 Kamenetzky, food editor of delicious. magazine and Richard McGeown, chef patron at Couch’s Great House Restaurant inCornwall. 

A full list of the award winners and details of their produce can be found online here

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.

The following National Trust tenants and in-hand producers in the South West have received a Fine Farm Produce Award for 2012. 

  • 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 CourtEstate, South Somerset Blended Apple Juice, Medium Farmhouse Cider, Dry Farmhouse Cider Somerset
  • Burrow Farm, Red Devon Beef Topside Devon
  • Chyvarloe Farm, Pork Chipolata Sausages, Cornwall – New producer and first time win
  • Clyston Mill, Stoneground Flour, Devon
  • Home Farm, Red Devon Beef, Cornwall
  • Killerton Estate, Apple Juice, Medium Dry Cider, Charcoal, Devon
  • Killerton Kitchen, Apple Chutney, Devon
  • Parke Farm, Apple Juice, Devon

Gold ‘Visit Devon Tourism Award’ for Killerton

Killerton Estate was delighted to be awarded Gold at the prestigious Visit Devon Tourism Awards last night (Wednesday 23 Nov) held at Sandy Park.

The black tie event was attended by General Manager, Phillip Smart who collected the Gold for Killerton’s estate produce, comprising estate cider, orchard honey, apple chutney.

‘Our estate produce are all “truly local, National Trust products” says General Manager Phillip Smart.  ‘We are proud of our local produce at Killerton. For instance, the grain is grown, the flour milled and the bread is baked for the tea-room all on the estate. In fact we genuinely deal in food metres here, rather than food miles’.

Revenue from the sale of Killerton estate produce contributes towards the conservation and upkeep of the historical National Trust estate. “Winning the Gold is fantastic reward for all the hard work from staff and volunteers that goes into picking apples, burning charcoal, pressing juice, not forgetting our visitors who buy our products and support our cause” added Area Warden Ed Nicholson, “This award is a good benchmark for our produce and it’s great to receive recognition for our hard work.”

First launched in 2010, the Devon Tourism Awards received a record number of entries this year. Judging is carried out through a combination of scoring, mystery visits and web searches.