Focus on Food and Drink finalists

Hilary Knight - Sussex Food and drink Network.
Hilary Knight - Sussex Food and drink Network.

In the first of three articles we take a closer look at some of the finalists in this year’s Sussex Food & Drink Awards.

So what were the judges looking for when faced with the difficult task of shortlisting finalists from the very many nominations received:

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year sponsored by Harveys

Said Miles Jenner, Joint Managing Director of Harveys: “The starting point for us had to be the range and quality of Sussex food and drink on offer in the market but beyond that we wanted to look at the contribution made to the local community, be it economic or social. Our six finalists all provide a fantastic showcase for local produce, encourage links between rural and urban communities and provide an excellent place for friends and neighbours to meet or, in some cases, MP’s to mingle and stay in touch with their constituents.”

The six finalists who made it through are Arundel, Chichester, Lewes, Rye, Shoreham and Steyning farmers markets.

Best Sussex Food/Farm Shop sponsored by the Sussex Food & Drink Network

Hilary Knight of the Sussex Food & Drink Network said: “People have been living and working in the beautiful and diverse landscape of the South Downs and Sussex for thousands of years. The land has been farmed and cultivated for hundreds of generations. Supporting local food and drink producers and suppliers is essential if we are to continue to enjoy the landscape and the beautiful scenery we have on our doorstep. Selecting only ten of the many food and farm shops nominated was almost impossible we now have such a great choice across the county but these were my finalists including two co-operatives.”

Cowdray Farm Shop, Holmansbridge Farm Shop,The Hungry Guest, Lodsworth Larder, Plaw Hatch Farm Shop, Rushfields Farm Shop, Sharnfold Farm Shop, the Sussex Produce Company, Veasey and Sons Fishmongers and the Village Larder.

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year sponsored by Natural PR

For Paula Seager, Managing Director of Natural PR, the decision was threefold as she had to take into account not just the quality but also the range of drink producers in the county when considering the vineyards, breweries and the orchards of Sussex that give us such great choice.

“Sussex is especially prolific in exceptional drink producers from wine to ales, fruit juices and other non alcoholic beverages. It is particularly exciting to be sponsoring this award to celebrate our first class drink producers who regularly win national and international awards, beating long-established highly recognisable brand names along the way.”

These were the ten who made it to the final:

Bolney Wine Estate, Court Garden Vineyard, Dark Star Brewery, Gran Stead’s, Hepworths Brewery, Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ringden Farm Apple Juice, Stopham Vineyard, W J King Brewery and Wobblegate .

The Sussex public has responded enthusiastically voting online and by text in greater numbers than ever. Which means this year’s competition is closer than usual.

So get voting for your favourites, all details at www.sussexfoodawards.biz. You have until midnight on October 14 to have your say.

Winners will be revealed at a stunning seven-course Sussex banquet, to be held at the Amex Stadium on January 31 2013