As our national final is less than two weeks away, we think it is the perfect time to get to know the businesses vying for our coveted national awards. Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at each of our twelve categories in turn, from Best Rural Start Up all the way through to the Triumph Over Adversity award.

Each national finalist has already won the award for their category in their own region. We think they’re all fantastic rural businesses, but who will our judges declare to be the cream of the crop?

Find out more about each of the business in with a chance of winning the national Best Rural Food or Drink Business Award below. This award is sponsored by NFU Mutual.


Bignose & Beardy Cider – South East Region

Phil (Bignose) and Steve (Beardy) discovered their desire to make craft cider whilst at the village school gate. They started their (ad)venture at Phil’s smallholding in Framfield, East Sussex. Little did they both know that five years on, the smallholding would be home to a busy cidery, producing up to 7000 litres of cider a year, a cider that’s creating a real stir in the UK’s craft cider industry too. They create award-winning, small batch, real Sussex cider, pressed and bottled with enthusiasm from hand picked apples. The cider is flat, unfiltered and wild fermented.


Butterbelle – Midlands Region

Butterbelle manufacture a range of minimally processed, natural nut and seed butters in rural Shropshire using high quality, ethically sourced ingredients. Bucking the trend for convenience and instead offering a more sustainable way to buy nut butter, their products are only packaged in wholly recyclable and biodegradable materials. Butterbelle are the first nut butter manufacturer in the region to offer a zero waste refill service to retailers, contributing to a circular economy. Founder Zoe delivers workshops and free nut butter making demonstrations to ensure her wholesome and nutritious products are accessible to everyone.


Corkers Crisps Ltd – East Region

Corkers hand prepare a fabulous, quality, great-tasting vegetable and potato crisp range by employing the very best people and using terrific local vegetables wherever possible for people with discerning tastes; they bring quality, fun, passion, creativity, flavour and innovation to the snack market.

Producing under their iconic, much loved and admired brand they love their farm to packet story and are delighted to be based on a sixth generation farm. They also proudly produce products for other companies too.


Minskip Farm Shop – North Region

Minskip Farm Shop is a young, vibrant, high welfare hen farm. They regularly have their minds blown by the amazing egg, and love to share their egg geekery with the world. They have a small flock of free range happy hens who live in a hen spa and lay incredible eggs. Amazing seasonal produce is grown in their market garden, and products from other local producers are also sold in the shop.

The owners are the next generation of entrepreneurial farmers and their mission is to change the face of farming, reconnecting the public with real food, fresh from the farm.


Oriel Jones Ltd – Wales & Northern Ireland Region

Oriel Jones was founded by Shaun Jones, a fourth generation farmer who took the step to shorten the supply chain between the country and city. Having been a primary school teacher, he made the decision to return to the family farm. Shaun was adamant that the family business should be promoting their produce and marketing directly to the consumer. An online venture proved that there was a need for such produce, particularly in urban areas where there may be less access to free-range, regional meat. He then decided to open a craft butchery in Cardiff. 18 months later, the business has opened its second craft butchery and kitchen.


Surfing Cow Ice Cream – South West Region

Established in 2018, Surfing Cow Ice Cream is produced from 450 cows that graze on 800 acres at South Battisborough Farm, close to Mothecombe Beach. The parlour, a redundant agricultural building, and huge garden are open to the public on weekends and during the school holidays. Surfing Cow also operates a wholesale business and a converted horse lorry attends events and private functions selling ice cream.

Education is a key part of the business and in conjunction with nearby Battisborough House it hosts educational days and residential trips from primary age to those at university.


Which business will be triumphant? Find out on 27th February! We’ll be posting the results on our twitter and facebook channels, so you can follow along there. All that’s left is to wish the very best of luck to the businesses vying for the NFU Mutual-sponsored National Best Rural Food or Drink Business Award, as well as all of our other national finalists.

To see the full list of finalists or find more information on the National Final, go to www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/national

If you think your business has a shot at winning Best Rural Food or Drink Business, or one of our other awards, why not enter the 2020/21 Rural Business Awards? Learn more at www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/enter-2020


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