Farming with nature at Low Sizergh Farm, Kendal, recognised in annual awards
National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards announced at BBC Countryfile Live.
The very best farm food producers have been recognised at the National Trust’s annual Fine Farm Produce Awards, presented at BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace.
Now in their thirteenth year , the awards celebrate the very best produce from the Trust’s 1,500 tenant farmers and estates, who between them look after more than 500,000 acres of farmland in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 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,” said Rob Macklin, the National Trust’s Head of Food and Farming, “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.”
One of the winners is from Cumbria. Low Sizergh Farm near Kendal has won a Produce Award for their free-range eggs. Their flock of 450 hens, which produce on average 337 eggs daily – sold in the farm shop and used in the cafe - live a ‘pastured’ life. Home is a mobile hen hut, moved each day, by a small tractor. It means the hens can follow the cows around, making the most of the fresh manure left behind from the cows grazing in the fields. It’s good for the hens, their eggs and the soil and even the scraper tractor, brought out of retirement, to pull the egg mobile says Alison Park from Low Sizergh Farm.
“This system is what makes our free range eggs different to other free range eggs. Our hens are on the go, moving pasture on a frequent basis, rather than being based from a stationery hut with access to the same field” explains Alison.
Low Sizergh Farm is a third generation National Trust tenanted dairy farm with a farm shop, café and farm trail. There is a viewing window onto the milking parlour from the café, so people can watch the cows being milked too.
In total 27 producers were recognised for 64 fantastic food, drink and countryside products, ranging from heritage wool and free-range eggs to hogget, venison and sparkling cider. The produce was judged by a panel of nine food and drink experts, including Clive Goudercourt, the National Trust’s development chef.