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Press RELEASES

Here are some of the latest press releases from the people we work with. If you’re a journalist, blogger or writer and would like more information, images or samples, please get in touch.


 

Dorset Wildlife Trust Forest School helps Plankbridge get ready for RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Amy Brice

Plankbridge Master Hutmakers is returning to RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the UK’s most prestigious flower show, for the fourth year running and has enlisted the help of a Dorset Wildlife Trust Forest School to build two bug hotels for its wildlife friendly tradestand exhibit. Handmade by pupils from Upton Junior School near Poole, Dorset, the bug hotels will be on display alongside Plankbridge’s Victorian-inspired shepherd’s hut from Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 May 2017.

Packed with pine cones, silver birch and grass, all foraged from the woodland floor at Lytchett Bay, a Dorset Wildlife Trust nature reserve, which is managed in partnership with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, the bug hotels provide a perfect dwelling for beetles, ladybirds, solitary bees and lacewings. While these little critters will not be brought along to RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the bug hotels will give visitors a glimpse of the Dorset countryside that has inspired Plankbridge’s approach to building shepherd’s huts, which were once a commonplace feature of the county’s agricultural landscape.

Richard Lee, co-founder and owner of Plankbridge Master Hutmakers, explains;

“The children from the Forest School have done a wonderful job building these bug hotels for our wildlife friendly plot at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It is important to us that all aspects of our exhibit have rural craft and heritage at their core, so enlisting the support of a Dorset Forest School was a perfect fit. While contributing a key element to our wildlife friendly themed exhibit, we hope that this will also help to inspire the next generation to think about ways to encourage wildlife back into their gardens.”

Katie Wilkinson, Great Heath community conservation officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, adds;

“The children really enjoyed constructing the bug hotels for display at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the activity provided a nice opportunity for them to learn about some of the smaller characters in our ecosystem and how we can help to look after them. It’s wonderful for them to be able to showcase what they learn at Forest School on such a big stage and they are really excited about the thought of who might see their work on show next to the beautiful Plankbridge shepherd’s hut.”

For more information about Plankbridge Hutmakers, visit www.plankbridge.com.

A timeless space and a different pace

Amy Brice

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle, while sitting well within the natural world around it, a shepherd’s hut made by Dorset-based master hutmaker, Plankbridge, can offer a peaceful place to embrace the great outdoors and build memories with the family. Whether relaxing or running around the garden, these humble huts can bring all generations of the family together to unwind and appreciate the simpler things in life.

An idyllic den for children to while away their school holidays, a shepherd’s hut can bring them closer to the wildlife that surrounds them and provide a base for grandparents to pass down their gardening expertise and spin a few yarns along the way. As parents return at the end of the day, the hut can host an al fresco supper for the whole family, making the most of those hazy summer evenings that live so long in the memory.

Found nestled under trees, framed by flower beds or standing proudly in meadows and fields, each Plankbridge shepherd’s hut complements its natural surroundings by remaining faithful to the spirit of the Victorian craftsmen who designed these iconic structures. The timeless 12’ by 6’6” footprint with a corrugated iron exterior has been transformed into everything from dining rooms and playrooms to potting sheds and peaceful garden sanctuaries, helping owners to step outside and make the most of their outdoor spaces whatever the weather.

For more information about Plankbridge Hutmakers, visit www.plankbridge.com.

Jack Ratt’s new bag-in-box cider sails into summer, flying the flag for Lyme Bay

Amy Brice

Devon-based Lyme Bay Winery has picnics, parties and festivals over a barrel this summer with the launch of its rebranded Jack Ratt cider range and new flagship product, the 3-litre bag-in-box. Drawing inspiration from the rugged Jurassic coastline of Lyme Bay, this renowned cider takes its name from notorious 19th century smuggler, Jack Rattenbury, who hid his contraband in caves and sunken barrels off the coast, retrieving them by ‘creeping’ the ocean floor with a grappling hook.

Celebrating the dramatic history of the West Country coastline, along with the heritage of traditional cider making, multi-award-winning Lyme Bay Winery has rebranded its still and crisp Jack Ratt ciders to better tell the story behind their bold and refreshing flavours. Made using a blend of freshly-pressed juice from local apples, including Tramlett’s Bitter, Foxwhelp and Tom Putt, all of which would have been used in cider making during Jack Rattenbury’s lifetime, the bag-in-box is easy to transport, pour and reseal, providing the perfect way to float away on a summer’s day and enjoy traditional cider with friends and family.

The Jack Ratt bag-in-box range includes a traditional and fruity Scrumpy, RRP £11.49, and a full-bodied strong Vintage Dry, RPP £11.99. Both are available from independent retailers, including delis, farm shops, butchers and grocery stores across the UK, and online at www.lymebaywinery.co.uk.

With the geese a-laying once again, free range egg producer teams up with award-winning chef

Amy Brice

Eggy bread with caramelised blood oranges, rose and pistachios

To celebrate the start of the new goose egg season, Somerset free range egg producer and supplier, The Traditional Free Range Egg Company, has partnered with multi award-winning local chef, Brett Sutton of The White Post in Rimpton, to create a set of recipes for its supersized Dabbling Free free range goose eggs. Fresh from landing 34th place in the UK’s Top 50 Gastropubs, The White Post’s head chef and owner has developed four versatile dishes to take home cooks right through from a hearty breakfast to a decadent dessert.

Combining essentials, such as scrambling and boiling, with those extra flourishes and flavour combinations which take these Dabbling Free dishes to the next level, each recipe has been designed to make the most of the indulgently rich yolk and superior size of goose eggs, which are around three times as large as an average hen’s egg.

Beginning with a delightfully dippy soft boiled egg, Brett has then taken inspiration from the wild garlic that adorns the hedgerows during goose egg season for his brunch recipe of scrambled goose egg, asparagus, pancetta and wild garlic gremolata. The White Post’s take on Mexican breakfast dish, huevos rancheros, makes a perfect one-pan midweek dinner, while a middle eastern-influenced dessert elevates humble eggy bread to taste bud tingling new heights, with the help of caramelised blood oranges, rose, pistachios and a scoop of ice cream.

The newest addition to The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s Free Collection, Dabbling Free geese enjoy a life of love, care, freedom and fresh air on the pastures of Somerset and landed a Great Taste 1-star award during their very first season in 2016. Packaged inside a little cardboard shed, inspired by owners Dan and Briony Wood’s commitment to traditional free range egg farming, each box contains two beautiful pale-shelled goose eggs with enormous golden orange yolks within.

Dabbling Free goose eggs from The Traditional Free Range Egg Company are sold in packs of two and are available from Selfridges, as well as independent retailers across the UK, including delis, farm shops, butchers and grocery stores, RRP £9.99.

For more information about The Traditional Free Range Egg Company visit www.TheTraditionalFreeRangeEggCompany.co.uk.

 

A star-studded day at the races

Amy Brice

GFF market

Great Taste Market debuts at Goodwood for A Festival of Food and Racing

Bringing a cornucopia of Great Taste award-winning products, from gin, cider and coffee to cheese, oils and preserves, the Great Taste Market will be a main feature at Goodwood Racecourse for the first time this year. A Festival of Food and Racing in association with Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards, will showcase the finest food and drink alongside a busy schedule of high quality racing, during a three-day festival running from Thursday 25 – Saturday 27 May 2017.

Hosted by the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of Great Taste, this artisan market is a must-visit for anyone in search of exceptional food and drink, bringing together a collection of some of the best tasting products from the UK and beyond. Visitors wishing to taste these 1- 2- and 3-star award-winners, purchase artisan products and meet the producers will find the Great Taste Market within the Best in Show marquee overlooking the Gordon Enclosure.

Throughout the three-day festival, race-goers will also be able to gain inspiration for using Great Taste award-winning products at home in the delicious. magazine food theatre. Hosted by editor, Karen Barnes, there will be three demonstrations each day and all products used will be on sale at the Great Taste Market.

Ticket prices start from £21 for Thursday 25 and Friday 26 May and from £10 for Saturday 27 May. There is free admission each day for children under the age of 18 years old.

For tickets and more information about A Festival of Food and Racing in association with Great Taste, please call 01243 216610 or visit www.goodwood.com/horse-racing

Food and drink start-ups show appetite for innovation, as The Seed Fund reports record entries

Amy Brice

The Seed Fund

The Seed Fund, a philanthropic organisation which nurtures fledgling food and drink brands, has announced a record number of entries this year, as innovation continues to blossom within the industry. With over 150,000 new start-ups already launched in 2017 and numbers increasing year on year (Startup Britain, 27 March 2017), The Seed Fund has now partnered with Great Taste, the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards, to reach out to more start-ups and entrepreneurs than ever before.

Founded in 2013 by Bristol-based design and marketing consultancy, The Collaborators, The Seed Fund has reported a big rise in products and initiatives that have responded to the nation’s changing tastes and new approaches to sourcing their food. Entries range from a farming collective made up of small fields and back gardens to an app designed to help consumers find independent food and drink outlets in their area.

Products such as ghee, kombacha, kelp, black saffron and jujube fruit crisps also add plenty of flavour to this year’s list, along with environmentally conscious creations, such as bar snacks made from a by-product of the beer brewing process.

24 shortlisted entries are due to be announced in April, which will then meet the judges and pitch for their place in The Seed Fund Academy. These final 12 Academy members will benefit from support and mentoring from over 30 industry professionals and business leaders, including Guy Tullberg from Tracklements, John Farrand from the Guild of Fine Food and Tom Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery.

Following a series of seminars, workshops, one-on-one sessions with mentors, industry visits and meet the buyer events, one eventual winner will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner in September, receiving a further year of support worth over £100,000.

For more information about The Seed Fund, visit www.theseedfund.co.uk.

A staycation destination to savour the south west

Amy Brice

Piggery Barn

With rolling views, a contemporary design and plenty of space for the whole family to relax and reconnect, The Queens Arms’ converted Piggery Barns provide a spectacular spot for this year’s summer staycation. As the popularity of holidaying at home continues to rise, the two adjoining Piggery Barns are designed to accommodate everyone from parents seeking a peaceful escape to the little ones and muddy paws that are sure to keep them on their toes.

A world away from the tiring journeys, crowded flights and rising prices of travelling abroad during the summer holidays, a restful retreat to the country offers a chance to embrace British summertime at its best.

Nestled on Dorset’s border with Somerset, with The Queens Arms itself falling just the other side, the Piggery Barns are ideally located for groups looking to explore the best of the south west, with World Heritage Sites, the city of Bath and the Jurassic Coast, both within an hour’s drive away. For those quieter days, the historic town of Sherborne is on the doorstep, while the owners have also mapped out four rural walking routes for those wishing to immerse themselves in the surrounding countryside.

Sleeping a maximum of eight people, each barn has three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and is well equipped for those wishing to stay tucked away in this holiday hideaway, with a utility room, spacious kitchen and open plan living area to bring the family together. The Queens Arms is also just a few fields away when the time comes to venture out to feed the family, with a menu that measures itself in metres not miles and picnic hampers available directly from the pub’s kitchen.

Visitors to the Piggery Barns can benefit from a 10% discount on all food and drink at The Queens Arms, as well as a 10% discount at local organic beauty experience, Another Little World. A full list of facilities available at the Piggery Barns can be found at www.thequeensarms.com.

Plankbridge launches new Living Hut, expanding the possibilities of the humble hideaway

Amy Brice

Picture courtesy of Daniel Mills

Picture courtesy of Daniel Mills

Following over 16 years producing Victorian-inspired shepherd’s huts, Dorset-based master hutmaker, Plankbridge, has launched its new Living Hut, adding a larger and more versatile moveable space to its already established collection of huts. Offering more room to play with and added flexibility on the dimensions and layout, the Living Hut is the perfect option for those looking for a more substantial outdoor space for their home office, studio, spare bedroom or garden room.

Much like shepherd’s huts, living vans, huts and wagons would have been common place in the English countryside during the early 20th century, used widely by agricultural workers, as well as those building roads and railways. The major difference between the two is that most shepherd’s huts had a footprint of around 12’ by 6’6”, which Plankbridge still honours today, while other mobile accommodation spaces came in many shapes and sizes, depending on its agricultural or industrial use, and also had its wheels set underneath its sides and the door at the steering end.

Richard Lee, owner and co-founder of Plankbridge, explains;

“We had requests from customers to increase the footprint of their shepherd’s hut, but this meant that it would no longer be a shepherd’s hut at all, so we needed to develop a hut that still had historical and agricultural roots, but allowed for increased adaptability. The extra space gives us new options, such as internal walls for shower rooms, so can make all the difference for those wanting to fit all of their home comforts within their hut. The Living Hut is the perfect extension to our offering, as it remains true to the Victorian heritage that is the foundation of what we do at Plankbridge, while giving us more freedom to create the bespoke bolthole that will get its owners back out into the great outdoors.” 

A Living Hut with English oak windows and stable door, a solid French oak floor and a Farrow & Ball painted interior with kitchen and washroom facilities would be in the region of £35,000. Living Huts equipped for year-round accommodation benefit from a lower rate of 5% VAT.

For more information about Plankbridge Hutmakers, visit www.plankbridge.com.

Gearing up for Cars, Coffee and Cake at The Queens Arms

Amy Brice

Supercar

As a convoy of vintage cars, sports cars and supercars sets a course for Corton Denham in Somerset this spring, The Queens Arms has announced a day of automobile appreciation on Monday 1 May. Open to everyone from classic car aficionados to eager young enthusiasts, The Queens Arms’ Cars, Coffee and Cake event will take place at Corton Denham Manor House Garden on Bank Holiday Monday, from 11am until 5pm.

With pre-1966 classics sitting side-by-side with soft tops and supercars, this will be the perfect place for petrol heads of all ages to see, hear and smell these iconic vehicles in all their glory.

Visitors will be kept well fuelled by The Queens Arms’ award-winning kitchen team, serving up coffee, cake, gluten-free treats and soft drinks all day, alongside flame grilled fare from the barbeque, as the exhibitors fire up their engines. A menu ranging from black bean marinated sirloin steak and spicy pork ribs to seared tuna loin and grilled haloumi will set taste buds racing, all served with a choice of salads from the pub’s own kitchen garden, located just a stone’s throw away within the grounds of Corton Denham Manor House Garden itself.

The owners of Corton Denham Manor House Garden will be requesting a donation of £3.50 per person to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in return for opening up their gardens for this day of family fun. 

For more information on The Queens Arms visit www.thequeensarms.com.

Take a shepherd’s hut staycation and savour the summer at home

Amy Brice

staycation

Offering a tailor-made space to relax, rest, dine and unwind, a shepherd’s hut from Dorset-based master hutmaker, Plankbridge, can provide a truly unique staycation destination. Just a few short steps down the garden path, a holiday at home can avoid the tiring journeys, crowded flights and rising prices of travelling abroad during the summer holidays, so every spare minute can be spent embracing British summertime at its best.

Endlessly adaptable to the needs of its owners, the classic 12’ by 6’6” Victorian footprint of a shepherd’s hut can be transformed into everything from a spare bedroom or studio to a garden room or al fresco dining area. With the addition of fold out desks and beds, the holiday hideaway can even transition from dinner to bedtime with ease, so its owners are able to accommodate family and friends joining them for their back garden break.

As the popularity of staycations continues to rise, a shepherd’s hut can channel the cost of a holiday into an investment for the future, with the humble hut on wheels becoming an extension to the home all year round, even when the time comes to move onto a new property.

Having spent the autumn, winter and spring lovingly nurturing their gardens, owners can reap the fruits of the labour by taking a break in their own bespoke bolthole. Turning the outdoor space into a ‘live-in garden’, the timeless design of the shepherd’s hut blends seamlessly into its natural surroundings, offering a front row seat as the borders burst into life once more.

Plankbridge shepherd’s huts start from £16,500 plus VAT and measure 12' long. Longer, wider and bespoke designs can be quoted for.

For more information about Plankbridge Hutmakers please visit www.plankbridge.com.

An open door for muddy paws at The Queens Arms

Amy Brice

Muddy paws

Somerset-based destination dining pub, The Queens Arms, has reported a steady rise in pups as punters during owners, Gordon and Jeanette Reid’s, seven years at the helm, as more and more dog owners discover their award-winning food, 5-star rooms and exceptional hospitality for man’s best friend. With a welcome drink at the door, labelled 0% ABV, and doggy treats flying off the bar, demand has risen sharply for its dog friendly accommodation, complete with a wooden floor, wet room, dog bed, bowl and towel to make sure everyone feels right at home.

Following a lunch menu built around produce from the pub’s own kitchen garden and smallholding, with gravy bones and doggy biscuits a popular side order, visitors to The Queens Arms can walk off their meals around the rolling country hills that surround the pub. Gordon and Jeanette have even mapped out four rural routes in a handy guide for their guests, ranging from 5.5 miles to 16 miles and offering a variety of terrains. Wellies are available to anyone wishing to go off the beaten track, sure of a warm welcome for muddy boots, and even muddier dogs, upon their return.

Jeanette explains;

“Dog owners are such a friendly crowd and fit perfectly with the atmosphere that we strive to create at The Queens Arms. Our AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence and Taste of the West awards are testament to the fact that it’s entirely possible to combine a high quality dining experience with a dog friendly culture and our front of house team are more than happy to keep the water bowls refilled around the pub as they serve. Like most people in the local area, we have dogs, and know the value of a bolthole that welcomes our four-legged friends, so we’re delighted that people are seeking us out as a pub for pups.”

For more information on The Queens Arms visit www.thequeensarms.com.

The Seed Fund opens for entry, reaching out to fledgling food and drink businesses across the UK

Amy Brice

The Seed Fund

Seeking food and drink’s entrepreneurial stars of tomorrow, The Seed Fund has announced that its annual competition will be open for entries from Wednesday 1 February. A philanthropic organisation, which nurtures small and start up food and drink businesses, The Seed Fund is in its fourth year of activity.

Extending its reach across the UK in 2017, The Seed Fund offers support and mentoring from over 30 industry professionals and business leaders. Twelve shortlisted companies will be offered places on The Seed Fund Academy – which runs over a number of days, during the summer months. The winning companies can attend seminars, workshops, one-on-one sessions with mentors, industry visits and meet the buyer events. One eventual winner will then be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner in September, receiving a further year of support worth over £100,000.

Founded in 2013 by Bristol-based design and marketing consultancy, The Collaborators, The Seed Fund has recently announced a new partnership with Great Taste, the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards. United by a shared commitment to supporting up-and-coming food businesses, the partnership will offer Great Taste award-winning small producers the opportunity to qualify for the Fund.

Open to anyone who has been trading for under four years, from small food businesses with an appetite for growth to inspired individuals with a big idea, The Seed Fund will name its class of 2017 at the end of March.

Won by Adam’s Raw Chocolate in 2016, the final prize offers support and brand development, including access to branding and communications resources from The Collaborators and on-going advice from other industry experts and mentors.

The Seed Fund will be open for entry from Wednesday 1 February until Thursday 16 March. To apply, visit www.theseedfund.co.uk. For information about ways to support The Seed Fund, including sponsorship opportunities, email info@theseedfund.co.uk.

For more information about The Seed Fund, visit www.theseedfund.co.uk.

Flower Show Forum initiative scoops The Gardens Group a national marketing award

Amy Brice

(L to R) Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, Louise Burks, director of The Gardens Group, Julian Winfield, GCA Chairman, and Fred MacAulay, comedian and awards dinner compere, at the GCA Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony at The Fairmont in St Andrews.

(L to R) Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, Louise Burks, director of The Gardens Group, Julian Winfield, GCA Chairman, and Fred MacAulay, comedian and awards dinner compere, at the GCA Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony at The Fairmont in St Andrews.

The Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Worrall Cup trophy for Best Marketing Campaign or Initiative has been awarded to The Gardens Group, for its Flower Show Forum, an initiative launched in 2016 with the aim of helping the traditional flower show to survive and thrive.

This prestigious accolade, which rewards the flair and commercial success of a marketing campaign or initiative, was awarded to Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group and founder of the Flower Show Forum, and Louise Burks, director of The Gardens Group, at the GCA Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony, held at The Fairmont in St Andrews on Tuesday 24 January.

Mike explains;

“This is such a wonderful achievement, not only for our garden centres and the team involved in getting it off the ground, which included the Royal Horticultural Society’s Affiliated Societies and many gardening clubs, but for the Flower Show Forum as an initiative in its own right. Gardening clubs and horticultural societies all over the UK are facing very similar challenges and the Flower Show Forum has given them a platform to voice their concerns, receive advice from experts including professional organisations, garden centre staff, flower show judges and organisers from around the UK, and share ideas for innovation and ways to attract the next generation. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in bringing their knowledge, expertise and ideas to the floor. This is still only the beginning for the Flower Show Forum, so this award will help us to raise further awareness of the cause. We look forward to building upon this success, as we continue to identify ways to inspire more people to take an interest in gardening and keep the traditional flower show alive for generations to come.”

The next Flower Show Forum is due to take place at Castle Gardens in March 2017.

For more information about The Gardens Group visit www.thegardeneronline.co.uk.

As recognition for tradition grows, The Traditional Free Range Egg Company moves into new home

Amy Brice

Dan and Briony Wood outside The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s new home, The Egg Shed in North Cadbury.

Dan and Briony Wood outside The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s new home, The Egg Shed in North Cadbury.

On Thursday 19 January, The Traditional Free Range Egg Company officially moved into The Egg Shed in North Cadbury, Somerset, a purpose built headquarters which will enable the business to grow and reach out to even more independent family-run farms. Comprising 12,500 square feet of production and office space, The Egg Shed provides a new and improved hub for the grading, packing and distribution of free range eggs from The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s ever expanding network of farmers who also employ the traditional flat deck method.

The move comes following owners, Dan and Briony Wood, taking a leading role in campaigning for a sustainable future for traditional free range egg farmers, resulting in an increased demand for free range eggs produced using single tier sheds. Complete with a new egg grading machine, The Egg Shed will be equipped to process 50% more eggs than the company’s previous packing station, allowing the Woods to support a growing family of likeminded farmers across the UK and provide improved job opportunities in the local area.

Dan Wood, managing director of The Traditional Free Range Egg Company, explains;

“We’re in! It’s been a mammoth task to relocate our business after so many years in North Cheriton, but it all feels so worthwhile now the team are settling in and the first eggs are heading out the door. We’ve done everything we can to support traditional free range egg producers over the past few years and raise consumer awareness of the difference between flat deck free range egg farming and other more modernised methods, but our new home will give us the space and facilities we need to take this to the next level. Now our move to The Egg Shed is complete, we’ll be looking to build upon our recent educational campaigns and unparalleled success in Great Taste, to reach out to more independent retailers, chefs and home cooks than ever before and shine a light on those farmers going the extra mile to produce truly outstanding eggs.”

The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s free range eggs are available exclusively from independent retailers, including delis, farm shops, butchers and grocery stores across the UK.

For more information about The Traditional Free Range Egg Company visit www.TheTraditionalFreeRangeEggCompany.co.uk.

Thinking inside the box, to make a hut a home

Amy Brice

Plankbridge

Whether escaping the elements, watching the first buds of spring or retreating for some summer shade, the timeless 12’ by 6’6” footprint of a shepherd’s hut from Dorset-based master hutmaker, Plankbridge, is a remarkably versatile space to transform into a beloved bolthole. Ever faithful to the shepherd’s hut’s Victorian heritage, with its distinctive cast iron wheels and corrugated iron exterior, Plankbridge’s craftsmen continue to reimagine this humble hut on wheels for the modern world.

From offices to bedrooms and studios to playrooms, each shepherd’s hut interior is designed around its owner’s needs, with windows and doors positioned to ensure that the natural landscape can be savoured while huddled up in the hideaway. Inventive storage solutions and carefully selected fixtures and fittings, such as undersized Belfast sinks and wood burning stoves, mean every inch is utilised, while the huts can even be transformed from work spaces to spare bedrooms, with the installation of fold out beds and desks.

While the shepherd’s hut’s classic exterior blends seamlessly into its natural surroundings, the interior is brought to life with individually sourced soft furnishings and colour schemes using Farrow & Ball paint. Each hut becomes a personalised place to retreat, unwind or get creative, whatever the season, bringing its owners that little bit closer to the great outdoors. 

For more information about Plankbridge Hutmakers visit www.plankbridge.com.

Castle Gardens is the shining star in national Christmas competition

Amy Brice

Castle Gardens Christmas

Dorset-based Castle Gardens has scooped the top national award at the Garden Centre Association’s annual Christmas Competition, in the Garden Centre category. Up against garden centres across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this is the seventh time that the garden centre, which is part of The Gardens Group, has received the national accolade.

Judges heaped praise upon Castle Gardens’ magical Christmas displays, which allow visitors to meander through room after room of lovingly themed twinkly lights, baubles and ornaments, as well as step aboard the Orient Express, escape to a timber clad winter lodge and be serenaded by a reindeer. Garden Centre Association judge, Andy Campbell, explained; 

“The approach to Christmas retailing that the team at Castle Gardens takes is to make it a magical and sensory experience. The offer and the way it is presented appeals to a wide audience, from young to old, and this is very special and truly memorable. Well done indeed.”

Louise Burks, director of The Gardens Group, explains; 

“To win this national award for a seventh time is a real achievement, and one we are extremely proud of. Our Christmas displays demonstrate a real team effort across The Gardens Group, which begins in January as soon as the previous year’s displays come down. Everyone works hard to make sure they look their absolute best, from the opening in October, right up until Christmas, so it means a lot to take this coveted title once again.”

Castle Gardens was also crowned regional winner for the South Thames area in the Garden Centre Association’s annual Christmas Competition, in the Garden Centre category.

For more information about The Gardens Group visit www.thegardeneronline.co.uk.


Plankbridge shepherd’s huts set sail for the US

Amy Brice

Plankbridge in the US

Dorset-based master hutmaker, Plankbridge, has announced that its shepherd’s huts will now be made available to customers in the US, following the first two huts successfully landing stateside earlier this year. Responding to a growing demand for this quintessentially British symbol of rural heritage on the other side of the Atlantic, Plankbridge continues to breathe new life into the humble hut on wheels that was once a commonplace feature of the English countryside, using the timeless 12’ by 6’6” Victorian footprint as its guide to create everything from offices and playrooms to studios and spare bedrooms.

The first pioneering pair of shepherd’s huts to travel from Piddlehinton to the US made their way to Wisconsin via a shipping container and have since been lovingly dubbed ‘the twins’ by their new owner. Combining a traditional dark green corrugated iron exterior and English oak windows with a distinctively American interior, including a raised double-bed, pull out table, cupboard under the bed and wood burning stove, the huts are a meeting of worlds and have blended seamlessly into their natural surroundings.

‘The twins’ are the latest example of Plankbridge reinventing the shepherd’s hut for modern purposes, while remaining faithful to the heritage of these iconic structures and the spirit of the craftsmen who designed them. A bolthole to escape the pressures of daily life, customers in the US can now use a shepherd’s hut to extend the use of their gardens throughout the year and get just that little bit closer to the great outdoors.

Richard Lee, co-founder of Plankbridge, explains;

“We are thrilled to have successfully shipped two of our huts to the United States. In some ways it feels like being a Victorian pioneer landing on US shores for the first time. It's very exciting, and we now have our huts in many fantastic places, such as the French Alps, Ireland, Portugal and now the US.”  

Plankbridge shepherd’s huts start from £16,500 and measure 12' long. Longer and bespoke designs can be quoted for. Delivery to the US and Canada takes around five weeks following construction.

For more information about Plankbridge Hutmakers visit www.plankbridge.com.

Champion of Champions trophy goes to Kraftkar from Norway at World Cheese Awards 2016

Amy Brice

(L to R) Markel Olano Arrese, general deputy of Gipuzkoa, presenting the World Cheese Awards Champion of Champions trophy to Ingulf Galaaen, Norwegian cheesemaker from Røros, who accepted the award on Tingvollost’s behalf.

(L to R) Markel Olano Arrese, general deputy of Gipuzkoa, presenting the World Cheese Awards Champion of Champions trophy to Ingulf Galaaen, Norwegian cheesemaker from Røros, who accepted the award on Tingvollost’s behalf.

Now in its 29th year, the World Cheese Awards held its first ever Champion of Champions event at the Kursaal Congress Centre in San Sebastián on Thursday 17 November, with this unprecedented honour going to Kraftkar, made by Norwegian producer Tingvollost. Featuring a tantalising line up of all previous winners, this unique spectacle was a celebration of the heritage and diversity of the largest cheese-only awards scheme on the planet, with the spoils going to Kraftkar, which was crowned World Champion Cheese 2016 the previous day.

Taking place on day two of the International Cheese Festival, which had already witnessed a record number of over 3,000 cheeses being judged at the World Cheese Awards less than 24 hours earlier, curd nerds from every corner of the globe gathered to watch a panel of renowned cheese experts, representing Australia, the Basque Country, France, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, the USA and the UK, taste, nose and assess this unparalleled field of world champions.

Ingulf Galaaen, fellow Norwegian cheesemaker from Røros, who accepted the Champion of Champions award on Tingvollost’s behalf, explained;

“It was a very special day yesterday and Gunnar has already returned to Norway to make more cheese! This is another wonderful moment and a fantastic achievement for cheesemakers in Norway.”

Heralded as “the best cheese ever made”, Kraftkar blew the international panel of judges away once more, with Ossau Iraty from Fromagerie Agour in France coming second and Le Gruyère AOP Premier Cru from Cremo SA von Mühlenen in Switzerland placed third.

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards, commented;

“What an incredible way to cap off another record-breaking year for the World Cheese Awards. We were certainly in the presence of greatness this morning, as nearly three decades’ worth of World Champion Cheeses took the stage in front of our audience of food professionals, cheese-makers, journalists, buyers and retailers. This was definitely a moment to remember. It has been an honour to share this occasion with the global cheese community that has once again assembled for the World Cheese Awards, in what has been an unforgettable year, as the competition formed part of the inaugural International Cheese Festival during San Sebastián’s tenure as European Capital of Culture.”

The World Cheese Awards drew entries from 31 different countries this year, from Australia to Italy and Mexico to Mozambique. Cheese of all shapes and sizes made their way by bicycle, boat, plane, train, truck and car to the Kursaal Congress Centre in San Sebastián, via 12 consolidation points in all corners of the globe. 266 cheese experts from 26 different nations followed them to the Basque Country to taste, nose and grade over 3,000 cheeses in a single day, giving Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards to worthy entries.

The final judging panel, made up of top names from the world of cheese, featuring cheese makers, buyers, retailers and writers, including Suzy O'Regan from Woolworths Foods in South Africa, Cathy Strange from Whole Foods in the USA, Roland Barthélemy, President of Guilde des Fromagers in France, and Mary Quicke from Quicke's in the UK, then debated the top 16 cheeses in front of a trade and consumer audience, broadcast live on World Cheese TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.

More information on the World Cheese Awards and the Guild of Fine Food can be found at www.gff.co.uk/awards/world-cheese-awards.

Kraftkar from Norway crowned World Champion Cheese 2016

Amy Brice

World Cheese Awards

Kraftkar, made by Norwegian producer Tingvollost, has scooped the coveted title of World Champion Cheese at the 29th annual World Cheese Awards, coming top among a record number of entries that were judged at the Kursaal Congress Centre in San Sebastián, during the first day of the International Cheese Festival.

The winning Kraftkar beat off competition from over 3,000 entries into the world’s largest cheese-only awards scheme this year, with judge Nick Tsioros, owner of Olympic Cheese in Toronto, who championed this cheese, saying, “This 12-month aged blue cheese is wonderfully balanced, it has a great crumbly texture, but is soft and smooth on the tongue. The mould has developed nicely and comes across really well in the overall flavour of the cheese.” The final International Super Jury, representing nations including Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA, concurred, awarding Kraftkar the highest score of the final judging stage.

Gunnar Waagen from Tingvollost explained,

“I have no words, this is marvellous news! We are a family-run farm and work long days to make our cheese. We get up early every day and go to bed very late to make the best cheese we can, and so to win this award, I am very proud.”

Kraftkar was awarded 71 points out of a possible 80 by the Super Jury of 16 judges, just ahead of a Spanish duo in joint second place with 67 points; Cala Blanc from Lacto Industrial Menorquina and Cremositos Del Zujar from Arteserena.

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards, commented;

“Hats off to Tingvollost for landing the top prize this year, when once again we’ve had a record number of entries. This cheese really is world class, having faced stiff competition from over 30 different countries. The World Cheese Awards has provided a wonderful spectacle, as our judges made their way through over 3,000 cheeses in a single day, bringing together the global cheese community to celebrate a timeless tradition that really does transcend borders. We would like to thank our hosts, Artzai Gazta and the Basque Country Government, for inviting us to San Sebastián this year, making cheese the biggest gastronomic spectacle during the city’s tenure as European Capital of Culture.”

Drawing entries from 31 different countries, from Australia to Italy and Mexico to Mozambique, cheese of all shapes and sizes made their way by bicycle, boat, plane, train, truck and car to the Kursaal Congress Centre in San Sebastián, via 12 consolidation points in all corners of the globe. 266 cheese experts from 26 different nations followed them to the Basque Country to taste, nose and grade over 3,000 cheeses in a single day, giving Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards to worthy entries.

The final judging panel, made up of top names from the world of cheese, featuring cheese makers, buyers, retailers and writers, including Suzy O'Regan from Woolworths Foods in South Africa, Cathy Strange from Whole Foods in the USA, Roland Barthélemy, President of Guilde des Fromagers in France, and Mary Quicke from Quicke's in the UK, then debated the top 16 cheeses in front of a trade and consumer audience, broadcast live on World Cheese TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.

More information on the World Cheese Awards and the Guild of Fine Food can be found at www.gff.co.uk/awards/world-cheese-awards.

Another step along the road to creating a sustainable future for traditional free range egg farmers

Amy Brice

Dan and Briony Wood

As part of its continuing commitment to supporting independent family-run farms, using the traditional flat deck production method, The Traditional Free Range Egg Company has announced that it will be moving from its current location in North Cheriton, Somerset, to a new home in North Cadbury from January 2017.

Determined to ensure that traditional free range egg producers can enjoy a sustainable future for generations to come, owners Dan and Briony Wood believe that their new premises will better equip the company to play a central role in helping smaller farms to thrive in a rapidly changing marketplace. Aptly named, The Egg Shed, The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s new headquarters in Somerset will provide a modern, purpose-built hub for the grading, packing and distribution of its free range eggs, coming from the Wood’s own birds, as well as their network of family-run farmers who also employ the traditional flat deck method.

With an impressive haul of awards this year, including its Waddling Free duck eggs being named in the Great Taste Top 50 Foods and a Good Egg Award from Compassion in World Farming, the free range egg producer and supplier remains dedicated to shining a light on those farmers going above and beyond to produce exceptional quality eggs.

Dan Wood, managing director of The Traditional Free Range Egg Company, explains;

“We’ve gained some fantastic momentum this year in our efforts to support likeminded farmers using traditional methods, so as consumer awareness grows this move is a logical next step for us. We’re as focused as ever on our mission to enable people to make an informed decision when buying their free range eggs, but educating them on the difference between traditional flat deck free range egg farming and other more modernised methods is just one part of this. Another crucial aspect is behind the scenes, ensuring that we have the facilities and environment required to develop the business and expand our work with independent family-run farms. Our new home in North Cadbury will allow us to grow and reach out to more farmers who are still employing methods that can be traced back to the roots of free range egg production, as we believe that their knowledge and experience is too special to lose.”

The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s free range eggs are available exclusively from independent retailers, including delis, farm shops, butchers and grocery stores across the UK.

For more information about The Traditional Free Range Egg Company visit www.TheTraditionalFreeRangeEggCompany.co.uk.