Suffolk Agricultural Association: Fruit farmers Angus and Sally Scobie are pick of bunch at BALE farm diversifications awards
A fruit and flower farm which blossomed into a nursery school, retail outlet, fencing company and contract hire swimming pool was the pick of the bunch at a regional awards event celebrating East Anglia’s top diversification projects last night.
EE Ulph & Co of Whites Farm, Colchester, run by Angus and Sally Scobie, was established by Angus’s grandfather in 1937 as an apple and pear farm with four acres of peonies.
It beat off stiff competition from 10 other farm diversifications to scoop the Best Alternative Land Enterprise (BALE) award after branching out into a range of diversifications, including a woven willow fencing company.
The winners were announced at a Suffolk Agricultural Association’s Agricultural Awards dinner supported by HSBC at Trinity Park, Ipswich, which was attended by around 300 guests.
Winners of the Suffolk Farm Business Competition, which is open to members of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, were also announced in its three size categories.
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The winners in the Class One Farms up to 250 hectares, category were last year’s winners, Jason and Katharine Salisbury of Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, Creeting St. Mary, who were presented with the F W Barker Perpetual Challenge Cup and Tankard for the best farm up to 250 hectares, by Bruce Masson from Baker Tilly.
The winner of the Class Two Farms from 251 to 500 hectares award was Porters Farms (Walpole) Ltd, Hill House Farm, Walpole which received the Cranworth Perpetual Challenge Cup and tankard from class sponsor Chris Seppings of Hutchinsons.
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Class Three winners for farms of more than 501 hectares, and recipients of the King George VI Memorial Challenge Cup, were John Brown and Sons. The award was presented by Ian Webster from sponsors Larking Gowen.
The BALE award was presented by sponsor and judge Jonathan Long, who is partner and head of agriculture and estates at law firm Ashton KCJ. Also among the panel of judges were association president Clare, the Countess of Euston, and last year’s BALE winner Katharine Salisbury of Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses.
“We were all bowled over by the high standards of all the entries and the diversity of different projects, but Whites Farm stood out,” said Mrs Salisbury.
For the first time in the award’s history, the impressive standard of entries meant there were joint runners up - Robert and Sally Bendall for Hollow Trees Farm, and its year round programme of entertainment and education, and Nathan Nobbs for Potsford Care Farm.