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Six of the best reach final stages of Kent Food, Farming & Landscape Award 2013

Six of the best make Kent Food, Farming & Landscape Award shortlist as farmers plant & grow innovation across Kent.

kent food award

Kent Food, Farming & Landscape Award 2012 went to Ellie’s Dairy and Hole Park Estate in its debut year

Winning the Kent Food, Farming & Landscape Award 2013 has come a step closer for six dedicated farmers across the county, as they reach the final stages of this prestigious Special Award jointly sponsored by the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the High Weald AONB.

The entries in this, the second year of the award, demonstrate variety and innovation amongst farmers in the county and represent a diverse range of farming types in the AONBs.  The finalists include a vineyard and sheep farming in differing landscapes; a cheesemaker and organic fruit juice production; and a mixed farm business that includes B&B and is working to traditionally manage a special part of the Kent Downs.  Nick Johannsen, director of Kent Downs AONB, said: “All these entries demonstrate how a rich diversity of farming makes the landscape in Kent what it is today. It is the innovation of individuals who continue to develop and market new products that will help to secure the future of farming and the character of the landscape across the ‘Garden of England’ and ensure that Kent continues to be celebrated for its high quality produce.”

In the forthcoming weeks, the judges will be visiting Great Broxhall Farm, Pett Bottom, near Canterbury which raises beef, arable, chicken and pigs for use within the breakfasts served in their B&B business; Meopham Valley Vineyard, Meopham; Moor Organics organic fruit juice producers, in Teynham, near Sittingbourne; Seasalter Lamb in Eastling, Faversham; Winterdale Cheesemakers, at Fairseat near Wrotham; and Woodside Farm in Benenden, producers of air dried lamb.

The judges who will now visit these six finalists are tasked with the tough decision of picking out the winner for the 2013 award will include Chris Reynolds, chairman of the Kent Downs AONB, James Smith, Kent NFU chairman, Nick Sandford, Kent CLA chairman, with advisor input from Ed Martin, manager of Produced in Kent, the Kent Downs and High Weald AONBs and Natural England.

Great Broxhall Farm is an unspoilt 100 acre working cattle farm, set in the tranquil Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural beauty. The farm, which has 60 Aberdeen Angus cows, is carefully managed as part of a countryside stewardship scheme which promotes local wildlife species and sustainable farming. Projects such as hedge planting native hedge species and conservation grazing have contributed to the flora and fauna species diversity on the farm, whilst the owners have embraced tourism with its Grade II listed 16th century Kentish farmhouse offering popular B&B and work with local shoots.

David and Pauline Grey, the second finalist, set up Meopham Valley Vineyard in 1991 with the advice of Gillian Pearkes, an authority on grape growing in England. Situated on the North Downs, the vineyard now grows a substantial range of grapes and makes English White, Rosé and Sparkling wines. After winning Gold at the UKVA competition in June last year its Meopham Valley Sparkling Brut 2008 became one of only four UK wines to be judged one of the top 30 Best Sparkling Wines in the World. Meopham Valley has also successfully tapped into the local tourism industry with its popular vineyard tours and offers both an online gift service and personalised labelling.

Moor Organics, the family run business and winner of Taste of Kent’s ‘Kent Juice Producer of the Year’ in 2009 produces a total of 14 apple and pear variety juices, incorporated into three brands. As well as producing some of the finest-tasting Kentish apple and pear juices, Moor Organics has effectively made the most of its land and buildings and offers a full pressing, bottling and labelling service and has state-of-the-art cold storage facilities.

Seasalter Lamb, meanwhile, which won a ‘Countryside Alliance Award’ in 2009, raises its sheep on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA) and is considered a wetland of international importance. The land has recently gained Higher Level Stewardship meaning it meets the highest level of environmental management standards. These practices result in all year round grazing for Seasalter’s sheep without the use of any agriculture chemicals and pesticides on the land, whilst the company offers a consumer friendly ‘Butchered & Boxed’ service as well as supplying local restaurants and dining pubs.

Winterdale Cheesemakers the multi-award winning cheesemakers since 2006 and third generation dairy farmers has been awarded one of the highest accolades of Gold in the world cheese awards. No stranger to Taste of Kent Awards either, the cheesemakers won ‘Kent Food Producer’ in 2007 just a year after converting from a dairy farm to cheesemaking. The farm is also proud to be one of the lowest carbon produced cheeses and still uses milk from its own herd.

Finally Woodside Farm is now producing Kent’s answer to Parma ham in the Weald of Kent using the highest quality lamb reared on the farm at Benenden. The air dried lamb is cured and infused with the farm’s unique marinade, containing a special blend of herbs, whilst the farm uses wood from its own woodland to lightly cold smoke the lamb.

The winner of the Kent Food, Farming & Landscape Award 2013 will be revealed at a glittering Taste of Kent Awards Dinner at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne on the evening of Friday 8 March 2013. Tickets are £90 including a Kentish sparkling wine reception on arrival, a three-course dinner, wine, coffee, chocolates and the awards night. Table discounts are available on tables of 8-10 people. Please contact Produced in Kent for details 01732 853170 or Follow the competition on


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