Soil Association Organic Food Award Winners

Posted on: 09 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The Organic Food Awards showcase the best in quality organic food and drink.

The Soil Association Organic Food Awards 2008 were judged by an expert panel of chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and specialists, and involved a three day tasting marathon of 900 entries hosted at the Duke of Cambridge in London, the UK's only organically certified pub.

Monty Don, president of the Soil Association, presented awards to the winners - which span 12 categories - on Friday, 5th September at Bordeaux Quay, Bristol on the eve of the Soil Association Organic Fortnight and Food Festival.  Judging in all categories was by blind tasting and all products were judged on taste, smell, texture and appearance.

The Winners

Baby, Infant & Children Food - HiPP organic, Apple and Raspberry Smoothie.

“A perfect drink. It is a beautiful pink colour and the flavours are a perfect mix of fruits.”

HiPP have been making organic baby foods for over 50 years and the range has been available in the UK since 1995. Their products offer the reassurance of baby food that is ‘pure and uncontaminated’ at a time in a baby's life when it really matters.

HiPP is the largest processor of organic raw materials world wide. They currently recycle 97% of waste and strive towards using only renewable sources of energy in their production methods.

Baked Goods - Hobbs house bakery, Wild White

“Chewy delicious loaf with fresh taste of wheat and a fabulous boxy red crust.”

Hobbs House is a family business, with members of three generations currently working alongside their enthusiastic team of about 120 employees. They have worked together since 1986 to produce an astonishing range of breads and confectionery to the very highest standards.

Beer & Cider – Black Isle Brewery, Yellowhammer IPA

“Admirable and unusual level of complexity, lots of well balanced different notes.”

The Black Isle Brewery started in 1998 when David Gladwin set out to make top quality beers that could stand among the best in the country using organically produced barley and hops. Sales have grown 50% each year and they now sell the length of the country either directly or through wholesalers. The Brewery has a share in Hootananny, a new Scottish Ceilidh Bar in Inverness with live traditional music every night of the week.

Cakes, Biscuits, Confectionary & Desserts – Judges Bakery, Macaroon

“Moist and crisp at the same time, a great macaroon.”

Judge's Bakery is a traditional high street baker's founded in 1826. It converted to organic in 2005 and was the first traditional high street bakery to convert to full organic status rather than offering a few organic lines. The bakery offers a fabulous selection of artisan breads, including Parisienne baguettes (which are rolled overnight in French linen!), seeded loaves and rye bread, a bestseller, created by their award-winning baker.

Cereal – Claybrooke, Super Muesli

“This looks and tastes like the real deal… Simple, rich and gimmick-free.”

Claybrooke Mill is the only commercially working water mill in Leicestershire, still milling most days using water power. Claybrooke produce a range of organic flours and muesli mixes using traditional equipment, some of which is hundreds of years old.

Dairy – Ben’s Eggs, eggs

“A golden egg in every sense of the word. The fact that a humble egg has won should be an inspiration for everyone who cares about what they eat.”

Still in its first year Ben’s Hens was set up on Summerhill Farm in Devon last October. The flock of 200 Black Rock Hens are truly free range and spend most of their time outdoors. Ben sells the eggs locally through independent shops, a box scheme and to an organic bakery. Ben also rears geese for the Christmas market and has a small herd of Red Devon cattle.

Fruit & Veg – Woodlands Farm, pointed cabbage

“Very nice texture and colour, superb flavour.”

Woodlands Farm is a mixed family farm with a herd of Lincoln Red Cattle, Lincoln Longwool Sheep, Rare breed Turkeys and Chickens. The farm also produces a wide range of organic vegetables and salads. Andrew Dennis made the decision in 1996 to begin farming Woodlands Farm organically. Andrew could see the cost of producing cheap conventional food was becoming evermore apparent - in terms of its potential damage to the soil, the landscape and human health. In April 2000 the farm set up an organic vegetable box scheme designed to provide affordable organic produce for people living locally. Woodlands Farm practices an 'open farm' policy. School visits are encouraged and open days are held for customers and special interest groups.

Meat & Fish – Rhug Estate, pork

“Pork as good as this is a very rare find these days. If there was more pork like this, then our pig farmers could look forward to a better future.”

Rhug is one of the largest organic farms in Wales, covering 1050 hectares (approx. 2500 acres) including 90 hectares of broadleaved woodland plus 551 hectares of mountain land. Rhug Organic Pork is reared and finished outside under the highest possible welfare standards and the piglets run with the sows until 14 weeks of age. This longer growing period means less stress, and superior taste and texture. The pigs run out on newly harvested carrot ground where they can forage freely; this gives the meat a wonderful flavour. The breed is a cross of Duroc and large white very similar to a Tamworth and ideally suited to outdoor production.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks – Asda, Green Tea

“Hugely refreshing and easy to drink with a delicate hint of lemon and mountain spring, leaving you thirsty for more. A treat for green tea aficionados.”

Asda is committed to the organic market, with over 900 organic lines from numerous large and tiny organic suppliers. Asda see great future growth in the organic market as a whole, they are constantly on the look out for new suppliers particularly from the UK and Ireland.

Prepared Food – Rod and Ben’s, Pea and Mint Soup

“Indistinguishable from good home-made.”

Rod and Ben took over the tenancy of Bickham Farm in 1998 giving Rod an opportunity to realise his childhood ambition of becoming a farmer and Ben a chance to develop an organic system on a UK farm. The farm was put into conversion soon after arrival and the box scheme was started in September 1999 and has grown from 40 boxes to over 300 per week.
Rod and Ben started their soup company in 2005 using the freshest ingredients straight from their farm to produce a range of organic seasonal soups made in small manageable batches.

Store Cupboard Staples – Aspall, Cyder Vinegar

“Very gentle appley taste. True clean flavour, authentic apple flavour.”

The Chevallier family has lived at Aspall Hall Farm in Suffolk since 1702 and today the business is owned and managed by the eighth generation of the Chevallier family. The Aspall range includes award winning apple juice, cyders and vinegars available through local stores, delicatessens, all leading supermarkets and health food stores. The Aspall cyder range is now available on the west coast of America and in Australia too.

Wine & Spirits – Vintage Roots, Sparkling Wine

“Bright and apply, yeasty palate, good cava.”

Vintage Roots began in 1986 when three friends Lance, Neil and Peter decided to launch a new business promoting something they passionately believed in, and could enjoy at the same time - hence organic wine! The business that began with a short list of about 12 wines has now expanded to some three hundred organic wines, dozens of beers along with numerous organic ciders, spirits, liqueurs, juices and even chocolate.

Vintage Roots has always stuck to the belief that organic wines were the way forward and continues to be inspired by the growers they met and other people in the organic industry. Drinks are tasted 'blind', amongst many others of their type. In this way, they are not influenced by price, or the 'reputation' of a particular producer but are simply focused on choosing what they find to be the best.

Web Links

Soil Association Organic Fortnight

Soil Association Organic Food Festival

Soil Association Food Awards & Recommendations

Soil Associtation Food Fortnight Guide To What's On

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