Suffolk butcher, pie maker and post office vie for 'rural oscars' titles at annual event
PUBLISHED: 12:16 19 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:48 23 January 2019
A Halesworth game pie maker, a Suffolk coastal village's post office store and butcher, and a pub near Colchester are among a host of rural businesses set to battle it out in a regional contest.
The Countryside Alliance, which celebrates rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage through its annual ‘Rural Oscars’ has announced its finalists for the 2019 competition.
In total, 20 Eastern regional businesses have made it through in five categories, and are among those whittled down from more than 17,000 nominations nationally.
Two Suffolk businesses – Heath Farm Suffolk of Rougham, Bury St Edmunds, and Truly Traceable Venison & Game Pies of Halesworth – feature in the local food and drink category. Also contending is Norton Dairy of Norwich and Johnson’s Farm Shop in Huntingdon.
In the village shop and post office category, Orford General Stores and Post Office near Woodbridge will be up against Garboldisham Stores in Norfolk, Wigginton Village Shop in Hertfordshire and Houghton & Wyton Community Shop in Huntingdon.
Suffolk butchers Orford Meat Shed near Woodbridge and Essex’s Becky’s Butchers, of Badley Hall Farm, Great Bromley Colchester, will compete against JW Sargeant of Stow Bridge, King’s Lynn, R. J. Chapman & Sons of Baldock in Hertfordshire, and Mill Farm, of Bourne, Lincolnshire, in their category.
Fighting it out for the Rural Enterprise crown is Suffolk Market Events, of Little Cornard near Sudbury, Brambells Glamping, of Buildings Farm, Burgh St Peter, Beccles, along with Creake Abbey, of Fakenham in Norfolk and The Pop up Farm, of St. Albans, Hertfordshire.
Vying for the top pub title will be The Hare and Hounds, of Birch near Colchester, and The White Hart, Attleborough, The Red Lion at Preston, Hertfordshire, and The Dambusters Inn at Scampton, Lincolnshire.
Countryside Alliance Awards director Sarah Lee said the record breaking number of nominations this year showed just how much the public values and supports rural businesses. “All of the finalists should be really proud to have gotten this far as it shows just how valued they are in their rural communities,” she said. “I look forward to getting out and visiting these fantastic businesses as judging gets under way.”
English regional champions will be announced in May, and go on to the grand final in June.