THE Hereford Times is delighted to launch the Three Counties Food and Farming Awards 2022, with our county’s finest ensemble to be honored at a glitzy ceremony this summer.
After running the event online for the past two years due to the Covid pandemic, it is with great pleasure that we can return to the Three Counties Showground in Malvern on Wednesday 15th June.
In partnership with the Royal Three Counties Show, this year’s event recognizes big and good food and agriculture sectors across a dozen award categories.
Agriculture is Herefordshire’s largest industry and has shaped the landscape and character of a county in which around a quarter of all businesses are in the farming, forestry or fishing sectors.
It has also spawned a thriving hospitality industry, where we are spoiled for choice when deciding where to eat and enjoy the best of what the farming community produces.
The county is steeped in tradition. Herefordshire has always been famous for its cattle and hops, while apple and pear orchards have dotted the landscape.
But things are changing as agriculture diversifies to meet modern challenges.
“The Hereford Times Food and Farming Awards, now with the support of the Three Counties Showground, have become a highly anticipated event in the local farming calendar,” said Hereford Times editor John Wilson.
“I look forward to seeing a new batch of inspiring nominations this year, and am particularly delighted that – with the lifting of Covid restrictions – sponsors, guests, finalists and their families will be able to celebrate the awards in person at our gala dinner once again.”
The 2021 event, hosted by Herefordshire-born antiques expert and TV presenter Kate Bliss, has been expanded to recognize those in the food industry.
Streamed live on the Hereford Times Facebook page, the ceremony ended with David Powell receiving the Outstanding Achievement award after already winning the Cattle Farmer Award.
Mr Powell’s double success came as recognition for a lifetime of producing high-quality beef from his herd of Herefords at Awnell’s Farm, near Ledbury.
The veteran farmer’s accomplishment came on the back of awards for his cattle, including three reserve championships at the National Smithfield Show.
And the gift of his farm to the Countryside Restoration Trust was made on the condition that he would be allowed to continue raising his famous pedigree herd there for the rest of his life.
Other winners last year included Chris White of Ledbury Poultry, who won the Poultry Farmer Award, Tom Davies of EA Davies, winner of the Arable/Fruit or Hop Farmer of the Year award, and the Riverside at Aymestrey , recipient of the Best Restaurant Award.
Celebrities such as comedian Jason Manford, England World Cup-winning rugby player Matt Dawson and Birds of a Feather actress Lesley Joseph were among those who paid tribute to the winners during the online broadcast.
How to enter
Registration is now open for the 2022 event, which will take place on Wednesday, June 15.
If you or someone you know deserves recognition for their dedication, professionalism or innovation, visit herefordtimes.com/awards/foodandfarming and complete the online form to make a nomination.
The price categories are:
- Cattle breeder
- poultry farmer
- Arable/fruit or hop farmer
- Family farm or smallholding
- Conservation and diversification of farms
- Best farm shop
- Best Local Food Retailer
- Best Dairy Producer
- Best Food Producer (Excluding Dairy)
- Best Beverage Producer
- Best Restaurant
Sponsors that make it all possible
The Three Counties Fair Grounds is steeped in history and tradition, and the perfect venue for this year’s Food and Agriculture Awards ceremony.
On June 15, the show will welcome members of the food and farming communities just two days before hosting this year’s Royal Three Counties Show.
Hosting the show for over six decades, the Malvern site has become a favorite venue for those in and around the agricultural industry since it opened in 1958.
Covering 90 acres in rural Worcestershire, the venue has been the scene of a range of events over the years, including the Malvern Spring Show and the Malvern Autumn Show.
It is operated by the Three Counties Agricultural Society, established in 1797 to promote agriculture, horticulture and food production in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.
In 2011, and at a cost of £1 million, the Three Counties Center was opened on the site to serve as a venue for exhibitions, conferences and private parties.
Also on board for this year’s food and agriculture awards, as category sponsors are Western Power Distribution, Wye Valley Brewery and the Country Restoration Trust.
Western Power Distribution continues to support these awards following its involvement last year and in 2020.
On this occasion, it supports the Family Farm or Small Farm of the Year category, won in 2021 by Henry and Esther Rudge, owners of Ballingham Court Farm.
Western Power Distribution is the company responsible for electricity distribution in Wales, the Midlands and the South West of England.
It serves more than eight million customers and employs more than 6,500 people to ensure the best quality of service.
Regulated by Ofgem, it has been awarded the Government Charter Mark, now known as the Customer Service Excellence Award, since 1992.
The Arable/Fruit or Hop Farmer of the Year award, claimed by Julie and Tom Davies of Upper Court Farm, went to Wye Valley Brewery as a sponsor this time around.
After years of brewing for Guinness, Wye Valley Brewery founder Peter Amor decided to strike out on his own in 1985.
His son, Vernon, joined the business in 1997 and five years later Wye Valley took up residence in a former cider house in Stoke Lacy to cope with a growing business.
Since then, Wye Valley Brewery has gone from strength to strength, winning numerous awards for products that have tickled the taste buds of many across the region and beyond.
Richard Thomas of Risbury Court Farm won the Farm Conservation and Diversification Award in 2021, a category which this year has the support of the Country Restoration Trust.
Founded in 1993 by Robin Page and the late artist and conservationist Gordon Beningfield, the purpose of the trust is to work together to restore a vibrant and active countryside.
It encourages sensitive and friendly farming practices that protect wildlife and produce high quality products.
the Duchy of Cornwall will sponsor the Arable Farmer Award.
The Duchy’s Herefordshire estates include Guy’s Estate and Cradley’s Estate.
Hereford Times editor John Wilson praised the sponsors for their support of the awards.
“Without them, the awards simply wouldn’t be possible,” he said.
“The endorsement of these flagship names lends additional credibility and allows us to better identify and reward those in the food industry who do so much, but whose crucial contribution to society rarely gets the recognition it deserves.
“We are delighted to have each of our sponsors with us this year.”