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

Awards Showcase Best In Welsh Horticulture

05 December 2013

A fruit farm that successfully works in partnership with two food processing firms and a co-operative that promotes sustainable, locally-grown food have taken the top honours at a celebration of Welsh horticulture.

This week’s Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Winter Fair in Llanelwedd, Powys, saw supply chain efficiencies project Horticulture Wales reveal the winner of its second annual Collaboration in Business Award, as well as the victors in a new Environmental Excellence category aimed at recognising sustainability and resource efficiency.

Collaboration in Business Award

Richard Arnold left with Alun Davies AM and Chris Evans (268px * 178px)

First place in the Collaboration in Business Award went to the partnership of Cowbridge-based Hendrewennol Fruit Garden, Homemade Country Preserves from Clarbeston, Pembrokeshire, and Whitland-based Cowpots Ice Cream. Fruit grown at Hendrewennol Fruit Garden is used by the two manufacturers to make a range of jams and luxury ice creams that are then sold back at the fruit farm under its own branding. Judges were impressed with how the collaborative spirit was embraced across the whole partnership, with the two food processors’ expertise invaluable in the product development process, while deliveries, storage, and even equipment were coordinated and shared amongst the three.

Pembrokeshire Product Direct with Alun Davies AM (268px * 178px)The group saw off a strong challenge from runner-up Pembrokeshire Produce Direct, a co-operative that sees around 70 local farmers and artisan food and drink producers – including half a dozen fruit and vegetable growers – work together by co-ordinating supplies and deliveries to offer an online “farmers’ market in a box” to customers across South West Wales.

Environmental Excellence Award

Debbie Neale of the Food Cooperative Programme in Wales with Alun Davies AM reduced (268px * 178px)

The inaugural Environmental Excellence Award was won by the Community Food Co-Operative Programme in Wales, a network of more than 300 community-led co-ops that give local residents the opportunity to buy affordable seasonal fruit and veg from local suppliers. Judges praised the programme’s recycling and reuse of packaging, the coordination of specific supplier and delivery routes to minimise food miles, and the overall ethos of encouraging communities to buy locally-grown produce. The project is also rolling out 10 sustainability indicators covering environmental, economic, and social factors, so it can accurately measure its performance on a local, regional, and national level.

Environmental Excellence Runner-Up Marina Shark with Alun Davies AM (268px * 178px)The runner-up prize went to Shark’s Tree Nursery, a 120 acre operation spread across two sites near Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire. Nursery owner Marina Shark has implemented a number of resource-efficient measures, including installing on-site solar panels to generate electricity, and taking advantage of a nearby stream to develop a gravity-powered irrigation system that minimises mains supply, while she also abides by strict organic growing standards set by the Biodynamic Association.



Chris Evans left and Richard Arnold (1000px * 638px)The winners and runners-up were presented with commemorative paperweights and certificates by Alun Davies AM, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Natural Resources and Food, at a ceremony staged as part of sector skills council Lantra’s annual Land-Based Learner of the Year Awards.

Dr David Skydmore, Project Director of Horticulture Wales, commented: “Two of the most effective ways to strengthen the overall competitiveness of the horticulture sector are for growers to work collaboratively with other businesses to add value to primary produce, and for organisations to become more sustainable by improving efficiency and cutting waste, so it’s a real pleasure to recognise the achievements of our award winners and runners-up. We offer them all our congratulations and hope their successes inspire others across the Welsh horticulture industry to follow suit.”

Richard Arnold, from Hendrewennol Fruit Garden, commented: “Everyone at Hendrewennol is delighted to have helped bring together three very different businesses to produce a range of products that we are all very proud of, and that our customers enjoyed so much last summer.  Seeing our fruit turned in to such delicious ice cream is a credit to all parties, and we look forward to building on the success of our wonderful collaboration.”

Debbie  Marina 640x480 (180px * 135px)Chris Evans, of Homemade Country Preserves, commented: “We’re delighted to have won. It’s nice for the three businesses to be recognised for all the hard work we’ve done together.”

Debbie Neale, of the Community Food Co-Operative Programme in Wales, said: “We are really, really pleased to win the award, especially as we, as an organisation, have put such a big emphasis on sustainability. It’s a real team effort, as we couldn’t do it without all the volunteers at each co-op and all the farmers, growers and suppliers who are involved in the project across Wales, so it’s a big well done to everyone.”

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