Farmers Choice are seeing STARS

award_tasteFor over 20 years the most coveted blind tasted food awards has taken place, celebrating the very best in food and drink and this year is no exception. Judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and producers as well as a whole host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.

This year we are very proud to announce that out of 10,000 entries, we have been awarded those 6 beautiful gold stars for our British South Downs Free Range meat.  We are so proud that 4 of our products have won awards. We already think our products are amazing and now they are being more widely recognised. These 6 gold stars now sit alongside our previous 6 from last year; 3 for our Rose Veal Club Roast, and 1 each for our Minced Steak, Slow Roasting Lamb Breast and Back Bacon Dry Cure.

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Our 3 golden star winner was our Belly Pork with Black Pepper and Sea Salt Coating. Out of 10,000 entries only 141 were awarded the 3 golden stars, we are over the moon with this result. Judges commented “Powerful peppery coating”, “A gorgeous crunchy crackling full of warming, fragrant pepper”, “the pork is sweet and succulent”, “The fat has great creamy flavour” and “Tender and succulent, full of flavour”.

Our other awarded products were Minced Pork, Mini Lamb Roast and our Back Bacon Oak Smoked.  These all received the one gold star award. The judges comments were “A good looking rasher of bacon” “the smoke comes through well and the cure has brought out the flavour of the pork”, “Juicy succulent meat”, “Good lamb flavour”, “A well butchered little roast” and “Moist and with good pork notes”.

Now it is a waiting game to see who will be awarded the Golden Fork, “the best of the best” as they say in Top Gun.  Those nail biting results will be announced in September – fingers crossed!

What are Great Taste judges looking for?

They’re looking for great texture and appearance. They judge the quality of ingredients and how well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they are looking for truly great taste.

How do they work?

Each team of four judges blind-tastes around 25 products per session, discussing each product as a coordinating food writer transcribes their comments directly onto the Great Taste website which producers access after judging is completed. Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on to achieve Great Taste stars. Food or drink that is deemed worthy of Great Taste stars is also tasted by a team of arbitrators, who taste, confer and agree on the final award given. If judges feel that a product needs some adjustment, and therefore not likely to receive an award, the food or drink gets a second chance on a referral table, where another team, blind-tastes and deliberates. For a Great Taste 3-star award, the vast majority in the room – which can be as many as 30-40 experts – must agree that the food or drink delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.

Goodwood Home Farm

Goodwood Home Farm EstateAs many of you may have noticed we are delighted to be selling Goodwood organic milk, cream, cheese and even rose veal and it would seem that every time we go to visit Goodwood Home Farm the sun comes out for us. Goodwood Estate Goodwood Home Farm is set at the heart of the 12,000 acre Sussex estate and is one of the largest lowland organic farms in the UK. One of the 92 fields Goodwood Home Farm manage Organic farming has run through the Richmond family for many years, in fact, The Duchess, The Earl of March’s mother,  was one of the founding members of the Soil Association in the 1950s and passed her passion and knowledge down through the family who are equally dedicated to environmental enrichment, sustainability and the importance of good, healthy food. They very kindly gave us a tour of the farm, we are not jealous at all of their office!!! This is the view from Tim’s window (Tim Hassell, Home Farm General Manager). Dairy cows out enjoying the sunshine Home Farm raise native breeds, some indigenous to the Sussex Downs. The girls in the image are taking a rest after milking. They have a herd of 200 milking cows, mostly Dairy Shorthorn cross with a Sussex bull, a breed which originated in the 16th century. The milk is non-homogenised, to you and I means it tastes just like milk used to as the cream sits on top and you have to shake it before use! The milking and bottling is all done at Home Farm. These girls can produce 30 litres of milk a day each – 15 litres each per milking.very full udder I think this pregnant cow is ready to be milked. Goodwood Milk now online at Farmer's Choice The mothers and calves are kept inside for while after giving birth but the majority of these girls and their calves will stay outside in the grounds of Goodwood all their life. They are fed on forage grown on the estate; this is a mix of clovers, oats, whole crop barley, whole crop silages and wheat, beans and vetches.  They also graze the prime grassland around Home Farm ensuring they are naturally healthy, thus producing wholesome, excellent quality meat, milk, cream and cheese. Dairy cowes just calved Goodwood use the organic milk to make their range of handmade cheeses in the cheese room next to the dairy. Charlton is a creamy, firm textured farmhouse cheese with long rich flavours and a tangy finish. Levin Down is a deliciously rich and creamy soft white cheese which melts in the mouth, whilst Molecomb Blue is an award-winning soft blue veined cheese which is rich, full bodied and irresistible with a dark smokey grey crust having won a gold star at the Great Taste Awards and we stock them all. Sam (Sam Naylor who deals with the wholesale side of the farm) gave us the exciting news that their Charlton Cheese won a Gold Medal, at the British Cheese Awards, in the Traditional Cheddar Category and got Best Organic Cheese – 1st out of 75 entries. Award winning Charlton - hard cheese Their male Dairy Shorthorn calves are fed on the same home grown food as the other cattle. They are allowed to roam outside during the summer months and in deep straw barns year round to produce deliciously tender Rose Veal. Male Dairy Shorthorn calves out enjoying the sunshine The Southdown breed of Lamb has flourished on the South Downs for hundreds of years. Southdowns lambs are bred purely for their meat and graze particularly well on the chalk ground of the South Downs. The leg of lamb won Gold Star at the Great Taste Awards whiles the Southdown shoulder of lamb has been awarded two Gold Stars. The sheep grazing in one of the 92 fields Home Farm manage. All Goodwood produce can be traced every step of the way from field to fork. They are totally committed to the care of their livestock and to the sustainability of the countryside. No pesticides or fertilisers are used ensuring that the wildlife, hedgerows and centuries old natural ecosystem is protected and that the produce is as wholesome as the land from which it comes. We finish up at Goodwood by taking a drive around the estate – not all 12,000 acres, just the fields surrounding the racecourse to get a glimpse at some of the 92 fields they manage.  The Estate views are second to none! Goodwoods Racecourse held within Home Farm Estate Some days are so much better than others.