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Updates about the Horticulture Wales project, along with industry news and opinion.

Horticulture Wales Award Winners Announced

01 December 2014

A fruit processing firm and a wholesale plant nursery have taken the top honours at an annual celebration of Welsh horticulture.

Winners at the Horticulture Wales Awards 2014Monday’s [1 December] Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Llanelwedd –  the silver jubilee staging of the agricultural event – saw supply chain efficiency project Horticulture Wales reveal the winner of its third annual ‘Collaboration in Business Award’, as well as the victor in its ‘Environmental Excellence’ category.

The winners and runners-up were presented with commemorative paperweights and certificates by Rebecca Evans AM, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, at a ceremony staged as part of sector skills council Lantra’s ‘Land-Based Learner of the Year Awards’.

Winners and runners up at the Horticulture Wales Awards 2014 with LANTRAs Kevin Thomas second from left (925px * 610px)

Our award winners and runners-up with Kevin Thomas (second from left) of Lantra

Collaboration in Business Award

First place in the Collaboration in Business Award section went to the partnership between fruit juice and syrup manufacturer Fruitapeel from Llantrisant and Soulmatefood Ltd, a healthy-eating, tailored meal delivery service popularised by celebrities and sports starts such as actress Michelle Keegan, pop group The Saturdays, and cricketer Stuart Broad. Judges were impressed by how the two firms had worked closely together to streamline the packing, storage, and distribution of the fruit juices Fruitapeel supplies to Lancashire-based Soulmatefood Ltd, which has not only reduced transportation costs and food miles, but also cut waste due to extending product shelf-life.

Fruitapeel Collaboration in Business Award Winner 2014

Fruitapeel's Mark Horsman receives the Collaboration in Business Award from Rebecca Evans

The partnership saw off a strong challenge from runner-up the Taste Montgomery project, an initiative which sees more than 20 small-scale food producers located within a six mile radius of the town – including award-winning cider manufacturer Old Monty Cider, which nominated the group for the award – work together to promote the area as a tourist destination. The judging panel noted how the group has successfully publicised itself collectively through a branded website and marketing leaflets, while the project’s development of a series of special local ‘food trails’ and events was also commended.

John Jenkins of Taste Montgomery, Collaboration in Business Runner-Up (500px * 380px)

John Jenkins of Old Monty Cider receives the runner-up prize on behalf of the members of Taste Montgomery

Environmental Excellence Award

Horticulture Wales’ second annual Environmental Excellence Award, which is aimed at recognising sustainability and resource efficiency, was claimed by Quinky Young Plants, a wholesale alpine plant and herb nursery based in Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire. All plants at the nursery are grown peat-free, without the use of any pesticides. Judges were also impressed with owner Charles Warner’s investment in reusable storage trays and his decision to change from round to square-shaped pots, which means he can now transport twice as many plants per delivery. He was also praised for enthusiastically promoting his plants using ‘Grown in Wales’ bespoke labels and bilingual signs, a concept he also encourages through an online blog and social media.

Runner-up prize went to Penlan Perennials, a nursery from Newchapel, Pembrokeshire, that sells hardy plants such as geraniums via online and mail order. The business, which has been named as one of the top 100 Welsh companies in the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) ‘Pocket Green Guide for Wales’, was acknowledged for its tie-up with a carbon-neutral courier company, its peat-free and organic growing system, and for using old newspapers, biodegradable plastic, and recycled cardboard boxes to package its plants.

Charles Warner of Quinky Young Plants, Environmental Excellence Winner (500px * 380px)

Charles Warner of Quinky Young Plants receives the Environmental Excellence Award

Dr David Skydmore, Project Director of Horticulture Wales, commented: “Our Awards aim to celebrate the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that runs throughout the entire horticulture supply chain in Wales, from growers and producers, through to manufacturers and retailers.

“This year’s finalists are all fantastic examples of this ethos, whether it’s groups joining forces on joint-marketing initiatives, businesses working closely together to improve how a product is packed, stored, and distributed, or growers finding ways to use resources more efficiently. Many congratulations to all our winners and runners-up.”

Click here to read more about the Horticulture Wales Awards

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