Calke Abbey wins Fine Farm Produce Award

Rare-breed Portland sheep at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

The National Trust’s annual Fine Farm Produce Awards celebrate the very best produce from the Trust’s 1,500 tenant farmers and estates. The winners were announced at BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace, with Calke Abbey being presented the Overall Food Award for our rare-breed Portland hogget.

Fine Farm Produce Awards

Now in their thirteenth year, the awards aim to prove that sustainable food isn’t just better for nature, it tastes better too. As well as being judged for taste, products are assessed against a range of environmental standards to guarantee their quality and origin.

" Our Fine Farm Produce Awards have attracted a great range of winning products this year. The quality of entries has been as high as ever and it has been a pleasure for the judges to see that the highest standards of farming can deliver excellent produce and work hand in hand with nature."
- Rob Macklin, National Trust Head of Food and Farming

A rare breed with a history

Calke is thrilled to win the Overall Food Award for our Portland hogget, a rare breed with a long history at Calke Abbey. Introduced to the estate by Sir Henry Harpur in 1770 because of their ability to survive on nutrient-poor soils in the area, the Portlands grazed the parkland around the mansion, and have remained at Calke ever since.

Sold as hogget at 1 – 2 years old, the meat develops a grassy aroma, great texture and a deep, gamey, buttery mutton flavour, which impressed the judges and received the highest food score overall.

" Letting lambs mature into hogget is a real investment in time compared to selling them as lamb, but pays dividends in terms of flavour. The meat is butchered on site too and profits go straight back into the estate here."
- Bill Cove, Countryside Manager at Calke Abbey

Keeping things local

Want to give it a try? Estate-reared produce is used in the restaurant and café here at Calke, and we also sell a range of produce in the shop.

Mel and Jonty Brunyee with two sheep at Conygree Farm

Fine Farm Produce Awards 2018 

The National Trust's Fine Farm Produce Awards celebrate the very best produce from the Trust's 1,500 tenant farmers and estates. Learn more about the award and discover this year's winners here.