Hampshire based artisan food producer Veggie Patch and regular at Andover’s Farmers Market has won itself a coveted national ‘Great Taste Award’. Judges at the Guild of Fine Food which runs the prestigious awards scheme gave Veggie Patch 2 out of a possible 3 stars for its ‘Nettle Cordial’ for flavour, originality and the fact it was made from a foraged ingredient.
The Guild of Fine Food said: “Our winners are all genuine food people who care about the quality of food and drink they produce. Those producers entered 10,000 products with only 130 foods achieving the highest and most coveted rating, three stars. We had 597 foods grabbing 2 stars and 2382 were awarded a 1 star. That means only 31% of entries were accredited – it’s tough. Didn’t they do well?
Speaking about Veggie Patch’s award winning Nettle Cordial the judges said: “We were impressed by both the concept and the result – we found this a really interesting drink which makes it stand out from other cordials. Very innovative – simple but successful.”
The awards scheme is open to food producers of all sizes and allows small businesses such as Veggie Patch to compete alongside household brands such as Tetley tea and the supermarkets such as Lidl which both won Great Taste awards this year for new products.
Veggie Patch co-founder Ian Sainsbury, who’s originally from Andover, said: ‘We’re delighted with this award and shows that you don’t have to be a big brand name to make great food and drink’.
Ian along with his wife Jill started Veggie Patch in 2012 as a way of finding an outlet for their excess garden produce. They began by making chutneys and preserves and then added to their product range making home-made cordials from their home grown, locally sourced and foraged ingredients in the kitchen of their Southampton home.
Veggie Patch has become a firm fixture at local farmers markets in Hampshire and supplies local shops with unusual chutneys and cordial flavours such as gorseflower, beetroot and gooseberry with lemon balm.
This weekend (17th-18th Oct) will see the team set up stall at West Quay Shopping Centre, as part of the Bert and Gerts twice yearly farmers and food producers market.
They’ll also be at one of their regular events the Andover farmers market on Sunday 18th Oct from 10am to 2pm.