BOOM: Showcasing Organic Producers
Winners of the Soil Association’s prestigious BOOM (Best of the Organic Market) Awards were announced on 5 July, 2017, at a ceremony in London’s renowned Borough Market. This year, awards shone the spotlight on categories for British organic farmers and growers, and featured a special new category, Best Organic Farmer.
Chris Gosling with the herd at Berkeley Farm Dairy
Some of the winners included:
· Best of Organic Dairy Products: Berkeley Farm Dairy Organic whole Guernsey Milk, sold through Abel & Cole Made fresh from Guernsey cows and with a naturally brilliant golden colour.
· Best Organic Box Scheme: Shillingford Organics Growing and delivering seasonal, organic vegetables, salad, herbs and fruit in Exeter and the Teign Valley.
· Best of Organic Meat, Fish & Poultry: Higher Hacknell Organic Meat – Sirloin Steak All beef products are produced from their home herd of cattle, reared & butchered on the farm, which is also strongly dedicated to wildlife conservation.
· Best Organic Fresh Produce: Maddocks Farm Organics Flower Salad Fresh, edible flowers for special occasions, customisable by everything from colours to flavours.
· Best Organic Small Online Retailer: Coombe Farm Organic Applying principles of high animal welfare and sound land management to deliver organic beef and lamb from field to fork.
Best Organic Farmer
This year’s new BOOM category, was won by Riverford’s Guy Watson. Riverford was one of the pioneering organic vegetable box schemes and was the first farm in the country to open to the public. 30 years later, they now deliver 47,000 veg boxes each week to homes around the UK from their four regional farms and one farm in France. The award was sponsored by Yeo Valley.
All candidates for Best Organic Farmer were nominated by their peers in the industry. The judging panel was made up of Liz Bowles, Head of Farming at the Soil Association, Garth Clark, Director of Farming at Yeo Valley Farms, Charlie Taverner, independent journalist, and Nigel Akehurst at Indie Farmer News.
The finalists for Best Organic Farmer were:
Jonnie Watson from The Organic Pantry Ltd runs a family organic farm based at Newton Kyme near Tadcaster, North Yorkshire. The Watson family have farmed the 300 acres at St Helens for over 100 years and have been fully certified since 1999. Their produce is sold into catering through box schemes, at farmers markets, and their own on-site farm shop.
Ian from Tolhurst Organics
Ian Tolhurst from the Tolhurst Organic Partnership has held their organic symbol for over 30 years, making them one of the longest running organic vegetable growers in England. Coming from just outside the village of Whitchurch-on-Thames in south Oxfordshire, the Partnership are founding members of Thames Organic Green Growers, a group set up to encourage the production of local food for local people.
We are thrilled to see recognition for organic farming growing, with the addition of the Best Organic Farmer category to this year’s BOOM Awards. Across the UK, the market continues to grow and recent data reveals that 82% of UK buyers are buying organic, which shows that there are good opportunities for organic farmers if you find the right market. British farmers and growers can be confident in the fact that UK-produced organic products are highly regarded around the world, with exports playing an ever larger role in UK organic. In addition, people are more aware than ever about the benefit of buying British and are increasingly interested in how their food is produced, which can only help to drive the increase in organic sales still further.