The Traditional Cheese Dairy, based in Stonegate East Sussex, was crowned the Sussex Food Producer of the Year at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2016 in Brighton last month (28th January).
The Sussex Food and Drink Awards support and boost local farmers, food and drink producers and outlets which use and sell local fare. The Southern Co-operative is a champion of local produce and has been an avid supporter of the Awards for several years.
Kate Hibbert, Local Sourcing Manager, said: “It was an honour to be able to be a part of the Sussex Food and Drink Awards’ celebrations by judging the food producer category for the 5th year running. 2015 was a superb year for our Sussex Local Flavours range in our stores – we sold more products produced in Sussex than from any other county – so it was fitting that we were able to share these successes with some of our suppliers as they took centre stage.”
The Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2016 were hosted by Awards patron, Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike of BBC Sussex, with nearly 400 leaders in the food, drink and farming industry gathering to celebrate the very best Sussex food and drink producers and outlets.
Kate continued: “The Awards give The Southern Co-operative a superb insight into food producers across the county; the drive, passion and knowledge of the suppliers I meet is infectious. The judging process allows me to meet established producers and those who are relatively new to the market. Last year I came across Nelly’s Scotch Eggs for the first time, who were Grand Finalists in the category. I visited their farm and was extremely impressed by the quality of their product.so, after working closely with them on packaging and bar coding, we launched their scotch eggs in our stores in August last year. These are the opportunities that the awards give local producers and us, it is not only a celebration of food in Sussex but a chance to develop and expand ranges ensuring we offer the best and most exciting local products to our customers”.
The Traditional Cheese Dairy is family-run and specialises in the use of free-range, grass-fed raw milk from award-winning local farms, to create fine-quality artisan cheeses, ranging from traditional cheddars to the critically acclaimed ewe’s milk cheese.
A spokesman for The Traditional Cheese Dairy said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded Sussex Food Producer 2016. A huge thank you to all who voted, we truly value your support. We love and very much believe in what we do”.
This year’s 10th anniversary of the Sussex Food and Drink Awards attracted 10,000 votes from members of the public with huge support from businesses in the county, bringing together the local food and farming community.
The Sussex Food Producer of the Year award aims to find the best food producer in Sussex, which stands out for its delicious, quality products and has a strong business with vision. Runners up included: Higgidy based in Shoreham-by-sea and Springs’ Smoked Salmon based in Edburton.