In the 13 years that the Hampshire Farmers’ Markets has been going, cheese in and around Hampshire has made great strides, to the point where a number of Hampshire Cheese producers are winning major regional, national and international awards on a regular basis.
As a popular regular supplier at the Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, Hampshire Cheeses are celebrating their double success with their renowned Tunworth Cheese at the recent British Cheese Awards, which initially won the ‘Best Soft White Cheese’ category and then went onto be crowned ‘Supreme Champion 2013’, the second time the cheese has won this prestigious award.
The talented and inventive Hampshire Cheeses team then went on to win ‘Best New Cheese’ Award for their new Winslade cheese, introduced to the market earlier this year. Traditionally named after the locality where the cheese is made, Winslade is a small hamlet close to their rural premises at Herriard between Alton and Basingstoke.
“It is fantastic to win these awards, especially the Supreme Champion Award for the Tunworth for the second time,” commented Stacey Hedges. “We have worked very hard developing the new Winslade cheese and it is great to also win the ‘Best New Cheese’ Award too, against 95 other entries. The Winslade is a semi-soft cheese and by coincidence wrapped in a spruce bark band as our head cheese maker is called Charlotte Spruce, who is a great partner to have on board. We have had an excellent response to the new Winslade cheese and have had to increase production to meet demand. ”
Samples of the new Winslade cheese will be available at the end of month Winchester Hampshire Farmers’ Market on September 29th and Hampshire Cheeses also has a stall at the HFM Petersfield market.
“We have been selling Tunworth at the Hampshire Farmers’ Market since 2005 and it is an excellent way to promote and sell our product and to get feedback from the public. We enjoy the fact that our customers at the market can taste the cheese before they buy and they love talking directly to us. The Hampshire Farmers’ markets are also a great way of meeting other producers and we often work together to promote local food and it is a fantastic community” continued Stacey Hedges.
The Hampshire Farmers’ Markets cheese producers are part of the artisan cheese renaissance with Lyburn Farmhouse Cheese Makers, Loosehanger Cheeses and new HFM producer Thimble Cheeses all winning numerous awards at this year’s British Cheese Awards against tough competition from 900 other cheeses and through three sets of judging by 60 judges.
Hampshire Farmers’ Market is a community interest not-for-profit organisation holding regular markets across Hampshire and their Business Manager Alex Handford commented: “We are delighted that so many of our cheese suppliers have won awards at the British Cheese Awards. The success of our markets is due to the enthusiasm and dedication of our supplier stallholders, as well as the growing public interest in buying more locally produced seasonal food that offers consumers great value and wider choice.”
The benefits that Hampshire Farmers’ Markets provide are far reaching and numerous, with additional employment created and money kept within the local economy, as well as the reduced impact on the environment and consumers being able to enjoy really fresh produce. Visitors are also able to experience an alternative and vibrant shopping experience.