A Staffordshire farm shop and café is bringing an award-winning year to a close in fine style – by being nominated for yet two more prestigious titles.
Family-owned Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Café has won or reached the finals of three major award schemes over the past 12 months, including picking up the title of Best Large Farm Shop Retailer in the 2018 Farm and Deli Awards.
Now it has reached the finals of the Farm Retail Association Awards in two categories, Large Farm Shop and Café/Restaurant of the year, and has been put forward in the food and drink category of the Countryside Alliance’s Rural Oscars.
Both schemes will announce their winners next year, after a judging process which will include mystery shopper visits and calls for customers to submit further online nominations.
Denstone Farm Shop and Café was set up 11 years ago by husband and wife team Rupert and Emma Evans, who converted a former milking parlour at Emma’s father’s farm into a 22-seat café, shop and butchery.
It now operates from a converted barn, where it employs 70 people in its 100-seat restaurant, with its own butchery counter and shop selling local produce and an extensive range of gifts.
This year it opened a new two-storey extension which has doubled its floorspace and will enable it to add a function room and conferencing facilities to its growing list of services, as well as giving it room to extend its gift shop and add more tables to the café.
The farm shop has won a slew of awards during its history, but Rupert says it has never experienced anything like 2018.
He said: “We’ve had a very successful 12 months and, since the Farm Retail Association awards are voted for by fellow farm retailers, we’re finishing 2018 on a high.
“My dinner jacket has certainly had a lot of use this year but although it’s wonderful to be recognised at these events, Emma and I know we’re only on the stage because of the incredible work and dedication that our staff show us every day.
“We hear so often from customers about how our staff go out of their way to make their visit pleasurable and we’re very lucky that our staff buy into what we want Denstone Hall to be all about.
“With more and more people starting to explore how what we eat can have an impact on our health and the planet, the farm shop movement and its focus on supplying local food is becoming a major part of the retail landscape and it’s an exciting time to be a part of it.”
Denstone Hall also won the Farm Shop of the Year and the Judges Choice awards in the 2018 Taste of Staffordshire Awards and narrowly missed out on the best farm shop title in the Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards last month.
The Farm Retail Association was previously known as FARMA and represents more than 400 farm shops, farmers' markets and Pick Your Own farms across the UK. It will announce its winners at a prize-giving ceremony in February next year.
Nominations for the Countryside Alliance Awards, which celebrates rural businesses who make a difference to their communities, ended earlier this month on December 9 and the winners will be announced in May next year.
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