Eight High Weald businesses have made it through to the finals of the Taste of Kent Awards 2020, showcasing some of Kent’s best food and drink and rural businesses.
Produced in Kent, the organiser of the awards, reports an increase in nominations by the public this year, indicating growing interest in supporting local produce and businesses.
With over 400 producers, the High Weald’s productive and wooded landscape supports many small, traditional livestock farms and fruit farms, along with a growing number of vineyards.
Jason Lavender, Co-Director of the High Weald AONB Partnership, said “Farmers have created the much-loved High Weald landscape of small fields, meadows and hedgerows over hundreds of years. Buying from our local food producers and outlets is a great way to meet the local farming community and support our rural economy - and reducing ‘food miles’ can be good for the environment“.
Lower Ladysden Farm in Goudhurst, at the edge of the High Weald, has made the top three for the 'Kent Countryside Award', an accolade for rural businesses caring for Kent’s countryside and environment. The award is sponsored by the High Weald and Kent Downs AONBs.
Chapel Down Vineyard and Nightingale Cider both in Tenterden; Owlet Fruit Juice of Lamberhurst; The Smallholding in Kilndown; Hinxden Farm Dairy in Benenden; The Little Bull cafe, Brenchley; and Hammond's Butchers in Matfield, are all competing for the awards in their categories.
A passion for local produce characterises these finalist businesses, some are family-run, and many have the benefit of years of experience, and the ability to combine traditional methods with innovation to make unique, high quality produce.
The top three in each category will enter the final stages of judging, tasting and mystery shopping, before the winners are announced at the Taste of Kent Awards gala dinner in March.
Find local food near you using the links and map in our Local Producers section.