One of the region’s farm shops has been highly commended in the nationally-recognised Rural Oscars after winning the regional title of Best Local Butcher earlier this month.
Blagdon Farm Shop was recognised by the Countryside Alliance Awards in a ceremony featuring Defra Secretary Owen Paterson at the Houses of Parliament.
Mr Paterson said: “These awards celebrate rural businesses across the UK from post offices to butchers, they are the backbone of rural life and it is vital that we do all we can help create the right conditions to allow these businesses to compete and thrive.”
The awards are now in their ninth year and have become the definitive rural business award to win.
Blagdon, a previous Local Food Hero, was acknowledged for supporting the local farming community and its commitment to educating the next generation in the craft of butchery.
Head butcher Simon Osborne said: “We are absolutely delighted and the whole team is on a high. To have been considered for the national awards and getting this commendation is a dream come true.
“We think the main reasons we were successful are because of our passion and commitment to supporting local food, offering excellent customer service and our produce tastes great.”
The retailer was recognised by its customers who nominated it for the regional award, automatically providing a pathway to the national awards held recently in London.
Countryside Alliance Awards judge Anne-Marie Trevelyan, of Berwick, said: “Blagdon always has wonderful produce and the butchery counter is a must-visit, offering a wide range of the finest meat Northumbria can offer.
“Simon and his team work hard with other farmers so that the taste and quality cannot be beaten, and the bestselling Blagdon banger needs to be tasted to be believed!”
Blagdon shop manager Joanne Celerier added: “It would have been amazing to win the national title of Best Local Butcher in the country, but a highly-commended award is a real boost to our business.
“It shows our little farm shop is right up there among the best in the industry.”
Established 11 years ago, Blagdon Farm Shop plans to expand in the near future and has secured some additional units for development.
And as reported on our Taste pages, the firm’s apprentice, Daniel Lovatt has been recognised by The Meat Training Council and Institute of Meat as the Best Young Meat Management Student.
The firm is keen to support apprenticeships and is in the process of looking to hire another.