Hampshire Farmers’ Market’s most influential audience – the public – voted for their favourite stall holder in each category from the wide range of suppliers who sell their locally sourced produce at the HFM’s regular venues across the county including Winchester, which is one of the largest farmers’ markets in the country, Alton, Emsworth, Ringwood, Petersfield, Romsey, Southsea and Southampton, as well as food festivals at Hamble and the Alresford Watercress Festival.
HFM Business Manager Alex Handford commented: “We would like to thank the public for taking the time to vote. It proves our customers want to see our producers rewarded for the exceptional, food, drink and other products they create and sell. Also well done to our producers who have gained so many votes from their customers, in recognition of their hard work and commitment to creating the best and most innovative products. They are always thinking of new and different things to present to our market visitors that they could not find in the supermarkets. Their dedication gets them up early every weekend day to travel to our markets, giving them the chance to connect directly with their customers.”
The awards were presented to the winning HFM producers by well known food writer Penny Ericsson, whose recent book ‘Meats, Eats, Drinks and Leaves’ appropriately celebrates the diversity and excellence of produce from Hampshire and the Isle of White. The book is forwarded by celebrity TV chef Angela Hartnett. Penny is also the author of The Chemo Cookery Club book and is a cancer charity campaigner.
The award winners, as voted for by the public, are:
- Best Food to Take Away – Bowtell’s Farm Shop
- Best Food Product – Ambrose Sausages
- Best Personality – Mike Smales of Lyburn Cheese
- Best Drinks Producer – Hill Farm Apple Juice
NEW AWARD FOR 2015
Best Food Initiative Award – Ambrose Sausages – for their new charcuterie range of cured air dried meats, a new initiative for the company adding value to their primary pork products range. (This new award was decided by the HFM board of directors)
The awards were presented at a special dinner at the Brookfield Hotel, Emsworth on Tuesday, 22nd September with the Hampshire Farmers’ Market Awards dinner forming the highlight of the British Food Fortnight Celebrations which run from the 19th September – 4th October.
Alex Handford said: “Our awards dinner is a great way for all of our producers to celebrate their achievements throughout the year and the appreciation they receive from our market visitors. The Hampshire Farmers’ Markets is proud to be enabling local producers to nurture their businesses from fledgling start-ups that develop into larger viable businesses.”
“Buying local not only helps the local economy, but local jobs as well, keeps food miles down and protects the environment. Our stallholders also really enjoy the direct contact with our market customers, who also have the chance to talk to the producers and to sample the wide range of foods on offer,” concluded Alex Handford.