A WEST Berkshire business has walked away with a rural ‘Oscar’.
Saddleback Farm Shop, in Brightwalton, was named joint- champion in the South East Butcher category at the Countryside Alliance Awards, which celebrate and promote rural businesses.
Business owner Clare Pill said that it was “fantastic” to receive the recognition for being in touch with the community, despite the shop only opening in 2012.
“I think the biggest thing for us is that we produce the beef and lamb ourselves,” she said.
“What they are interested in is how the business sits within the community and what the business means to people in the local area.
“It’s quite nice to have the recognition for that.”
Judge Sarah Lee said: “I would recommend anyone visit Saddleback for any number of reasons, but we are honouring them for the butchery side of the business which is top-notch.
“The family has been farming at Brightwalton for a number of years so it has been a real leap of faith to get the farm shop and butchery off the ground and to really drive it forward, attracting devoted customers from miles around.
“Clare, who runs the business, is the third generation of the Whidborne family to farm this stunning corner of West Berkshire. She is tenacious and has her eye firmly on top produce, animal welfare and giving customers what they want, either over the counter or via a meat box scheme.
“Clare herself is not a butcher, but has fantastic butchers on staff, including a butcher apprentice, who are able to banter with the customers and cut to their specifications. We were also impressed to see a shoot lunch coming in while we were judging, proving what a hub Saddleback is and how immersed in its community and rural life more broadly.”
There could be greater recognition for the Brightwalton farm, as Saddleback will find out whether it has won a national award later this month.
A Parliamentary reception will be held at the House of Lords in London on Wednesday, March 22.
Saddleback shared the South East Butcher award with Park Farm Butchers, Hawkhurst, Kent.
There was a further recognition for West Berkshire as Compton Village Shop was highly recommended in the South East Champion Village Shop/Post Office category.
The award for Saddleback Farm follows Ashampstead butcher Vicar’s Game scooping the regional butcher’s award in 2011; only to be pipped into second place at the national awards ceremony.