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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.


 

Plankbridge’s Wildlife Watch scoops four-star award at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Amy Brice

Dorset-based Master Hutmaker, Plankbridge, has been presented with a four-star award for its wildlife friendly tradestand exhibit at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The Victorian-inspired shepherd’s hut, which is surrounded by pollinator friendly plants, such as Foxgloves, Bugloss and Primula beesiana, all supplied by Sherborne-based Castle Gardens, was commended for its inspiring and innovative design, attractive planting, significant scale of endeavour and high quality finish. Looking to engage with the next generation, the tradestand exhibit also features two bug hotels, which were built by a Dorset Wildlife Trust Forest School.

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

“Jane and I really enjoyed the wildlife friendly gardening aspect of bringing this tradestand exhibit together. The plants were placed in rustic pots, including a galvanised bath from Jane’s family farm, showing how you can combine old and new materials to create a tranquil space fit for modern day use. Our beloved bug hotels and bird’s nest really helped set the scene for visitors and made sure that wildlife was at the heart of our exhibit. This award is a fantastic result for the whole team and everyone involved in bringing the stand to life, and we hope that this exhibit will inspire more people to think about wildlife when they are planning their gardens.”

The Plankbridge Wildlife Watch shepherd’s hut will be on display at Tradestand AR586 from Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 May 2017.

Each year at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 250 tradestands are judged by long running exhibitors, successful retailers and visual merchandisers, to encourage high standards of presentation and to inspire design ideas at home.

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

 

 

A summer for the senses to savour, as Great Taste Markets head to RHS Flower Shows

Amy Brice

Nestled beyond the blossoms, borders and butterflies, there will be a host of award-winning food and drink at three of this year’s historic RHS shows, as the Great Taste Market comes to RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and RHS Tatton Park Flower Show. Bringing everything from juice and gin to cheese and chutney, the Great Taste Market will be the only food offering at these shows this year and promises to tantalise taste buds with recent winners from Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food awards.

Showcasing the finest food and drink, in amongst inspirational show gardens, butterfly domes, talks, demos and marquees flooded with flowers, these events have treats in store for all the senses, bursting with the fragrant, the beautiful and the downright delicious. Hosted by the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of Great Taste, these artisan markets are a must-visit for those in search of exceptional food and drink, bringing together a collection of some of the best tasting products from the UK and beyond.

Anyone wishing to taste 1- 2- and 3-star award-winners, whether tempted by sweet treats or with a penchant for pies, can visit the shows on the following dates:

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show: 7 - 11 June 2017

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show: 4 - 9 July 2017

RHS Tatton Park Flower Show: 19 - 23 July 2017

For tickets and more information about RHS Flower Shows, visit www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events.

A hideaway for creatures great and small at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Amy Brice

With the latest figures from The State of Nature Report (September 2016) revealing that 50% of the UK’s native species are in decline and 15% are at risk of extinction, Dorset-based master hutmaker, Plankbridge, will demonstrate how its Victorian-inspired shepherd’s huts can work in harmony with a wildlife friendly garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Drawing inspiration from the agricultural heritage of shepherd’s huts, which would have been a firm fixture on the countryside’s landscape during the 19th Century, this 12’ by 6’6” moveable space, built faithfully to the Victorian originals, sits well within its natural surroundings and offers the perfect bolthole for reconnecting with nature.

Enabling wildlife friendly gardeners to extend the use of their gardens throughout the year, this shepherd’s hut also adds to the welcoming environment for birds, bees and butterflies alike, with the addition of bird boxes, bug hotels and log piles around its exterior.

Botanical prints, inspired by The Country Flowers of a Victorian Lady, adorn the soft furnishings and interior walls, while a knee-hole desk for binoculars and shelves packed with books about wildlife make this the ideal retreat for bird watching, counting bugs and planning the season’s wildlife friendly planting.

The Plankbridge wildlife watch shepherd’s hut will be on display at Tradestand AR586 on Monday 22 May for Press Day and then for the public to see from Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 May 2017.

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

A journey in gin as The Queens Arms and Sipsmith make the perfect pairing

Amy Brice

From the joys of juniper to the delights of distillation, The Queens Arms’ Gin Discovery event, hosted by Joe Ellis from Sipsmith, will explore the most quintessentially English of spirits on Saturday 24 June from 6pm-8pm.

Botanical buffs and novices alike will get a taste of The Queens Arms’ extensive list of gins on a gin glider tasting board, consisting of three varieties mixed with Fever Tree Tonic, served with individually handpicked garnishes and cucumber based snacks. With taste buds tickled, Joe will then delve into the rich history of gin and the story of how Sipsmith set up London’s first traditional copper distillery since 1820, before offering an insight into the finer points of sourcing botanicals, overnight maceration and the distillation process.

Whether served on the rocks or in handcrafted cocktails, by the open fire or on the terrace, The Queens Arms offers over 20 concoctions using local and international gins. The menu includes Conker Spirit, a local gin from Dorset’s first distillery on the backstreets of Bournemouth, served with a garnish of tonka beans which inject delicate flowery spices and a beautiful layer of vanilla. Other highlights include a Brecon Special Reserve served with a classic lime and juniper garnish, Hendrix accompanied by peppercorns and cucumber and the famous pink gin, Eden Mill, served with a beautiful hibiscus flower.

Gin Discovery will take place at The Queens Arms on Saturday 24 June and is a ticket only event. Tickets cost £15, which includes a gin glider tasting board and cucumber snacks, and can be purchased from Carolyn Fagan, events manager, on 01963 220317 or at relax@thequeensarms.com.

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

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.