Britain’s best farm shop receives ‘Rural Oscar’

Farrington’s Farm Shop, the Bristol based local food hub, was named Local Food Champion of 2010 at the Countryside Alliance Awards finals which were held at Parliament on 30th March.

The farm shop has evolved from being a tenant farm and is now leading the way in local food retail and educating the public in local produce.  The shop, which is run by Tish and Andy Jeffrey, beat competition from local food retailers across Britain to carry off the honour. They had previously won the South West regional title, qualifying them for the final, which was judged by a panel which includes the cook, Clarissa Dickson Wright.

A prize-giving reception was held at The House of Lords on Wednesday 30th March and Tish and Andy travelled to London to accept their Champion’s plaque from Defra Minister Richard Benyon MP.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, have been running for six years and were set up to celebrate the characters, produce, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick.

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Alice Barnard presided over the reception, which was attended by regional winners from across Britain all hoping to scoop a national title. The reception was also attended by a huge number of cross-party Parliamentarians. Prizes were handed out across the categories of local food, village shop, enterprise, butcher, Rural Hero and traditional business.

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Alice Barnard told the reception: “Our regional judge declared this to be the best farm shop she has ever been to. And when Alison is impressed, you know it’s good! Tish & Andy Jeffery are tenant farmers who started off with 230 acres and 100 cows. Despite Foot and Mouth Farrington’s has now grown into a busy farm shop with its own bakery and cow-themed café with outdoor cow pat-io.

“There is huge enjoyment and humour here, and great efforts are made to connect customers with what they are buying, supporting local producers as they do so. Demonstrations, cookery classes, tastings and a loyalty card scheme all involve the customer, and a commitment to animal welfare is also evident. Each month the Battery Hen Welfare Trust comes to Farrington’s with 500 ex-battery hens given to local people for retirement. Tish and Andy also offer a rural business consultancy to use the benefits of their own experience to encourage rural start-ups. This is a holistic business, where produce, customers and farming’s future are all paramount.”