East Anglia: Final week of voting for East of England Co-op’s Producer of the Year awards

From left, Romona Pavel, James Bendell, Emily Johnson and, in the wheelbarrow, Kimonie Sturgeon of

From left, Romona Pavel, James Bendell, Emily Johnson and, in the wheelbarrow, Kimonie Sturgeon of Lindsey Lodge Farm, last year's East of England Co-op Producer of the Year. - Credit: Albanpix.com

More than 1,000 votes have already been cast for the East of England Co-operative’s Producer of the Year Awards 2014 – with just one week left until voting ends on January 31.

Six of the region’s best loved local producers are in the running – all hoping to garner enough public votes to be crowned county champion in February, with the chance to win the prestigious Producer of the Year Award in March.

Kevin Warden – East of England Co-op’s local sourcing manager said voting has been close.

“The votes to honour our local producers have been coming in thick and fast. It just goes to show how much our members and customers appreciate the hard work these businesses put in to bringing great-tasting local products to our stores,” he said. “If anyone hasn’t yet voted we’d urge them to hurry - the voting is close so it will make a difference plus we’ll enter every voter into our prize draw to win £100 of shopping vouchers.”

The annual awards showcase the quality and diversity of more than 130 growers and producers from Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk who contribute to the Co-op’s Sourced Locally range.

Two outstanding local producers from each county are up for public votes. In Suffolk they are Havensfield Eggs from Hoxne near Eye and Lane Farm Country Foods from Brundish, near Framlingham. The Essex contenders are Great Tilkey Honey from Coggeshall and Rossi Ice Cream of Southend. In Norfolk, Buxton Potato Company from Buxton is going head-to-head with Yare Valley Oils from Surlingham

Since 2007 the East of England Co-op has put £20million back into the regional economy, creating over 100 local jobs. In almost five years, its Sourced Locally range has grown from a few suppliers to more than 130 bringing over 2,000 local products into stores.

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The three county winners will be announced in February and will go forward for judging by an elite panel of food and farming experts to win the prestigious Producer of The Year 2014. Each county winner will receive a cash prizes of £500, a hand crafted plaque and free advertising opportunities.

To vote, visit www.eastofengland.coop/2014producer .