A NORTH East farm shop renowned for its eco-friendly ways and living grass roof has been revealed as a finalist in a prestigious BBC food and farming competition.
Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop in Barnard Castle, County Durham, is among three finalists in the Best Local Food Retailer category for the BBC Food and Farming Awards.
The farm shop, which is a joint organic farm shop and cafe where food is cooked in a wood burning oven, has not even been open a year yet but has a strong and loyal following.
Manager Deborah Hare said staff were delighted the farm shop had been named as a finalist.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bits, basically we have not been open a year yet, we opened at the end of October last year.
“We have a really good team who are very committed. It’s nice when it pays off,” she said.
One of the farm shop’s regular customers nominated them in the best local food retailer category. The nomination said, “Locals love it as the cafe food is creative and excellent.”
Deborah added: “We were over the moon when they told us. They just said it was a nice place with local food.”
There are nine categories in the competition which also includes best food market, best drinks producer and best big food idea.
Also nominated in this year’s award was Lyndsey Anderson of Excelsior Academy in Newcastle, who was named as a finalist in the best public caterer category.
Lyndsey, who is head of catering at the school, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been nominated for this award – it’s so exciting. Excelsior Academy is very proud of the school dinners that we serve to our pupils.”
The catering team at Excelsior sources its fruit and vegetables from a local market based at Team Valley in Gateshead, its bread and flour come from a bakery based less than 10 miles away from the academy, and a local butcher sources meat from local farms in Northumberland including Wallington Hall Estates and Ingram Valley.
Chef and restaurateur Angela Hartnett chairs this year’s panel of judges, which includes farmer and Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, restaurateur and broadcaster Arthur Potts-Dawson and food writer Charles Campion. Winners will be announced at the BBC Food and Farming Awards ceremony held on November 28 at the NEC in Birmingham. For information visit www.bbc.co.uk/foodawards.