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Stackyard News Dec 2010

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Keelham Farm Shop Lands Top National Food and Farming Award

Keelham Farm Shop in Thornton, Bradford, has landed a top national title after being chosen as ‘Non-Multiple Retailer of the Year’ in the 2010 Food and Farming Industry Awards.

Keelham Farm Shop’s Victoria and James Robertshaw are pictured In the House of Commons with their Food and Farming Industry Non-Multiple Retailer of the Year award.

Victoria and James Robertshaw

The eighth annual awards, organised by Farm Business magazine, are among the most prestigious in the country.

They were presented to the cream of both individuals and companies involved in food and farming by agriculture minister Jim Paice in the House of Commons Members’ Dining Room. The ceremony was hosted by Observer columnist Andrew Rawnsley. (Fri, Dec 10).

Keelham’s award, sponsored by Massey Ferguson/Agco Finance, was accepted by brother and sister directors James and Victoria Robertshaw in front of an audience drawn from every part of the food and farming supply chain.

In choosing the Brighouse & Denholme Road shop as Non-Multiple Retailer of the Year, competition judges took note of the fact that in 2009 Keelham supported over 70 local and Yorkshire food and drink suppliers and producers, and that during 2010 this had risen to over 200 spanning Yorkshire.

They observed: “More than 8,000 customers a week shop at Keelham Farm Shop for its quality produce and its range of hand-made artisan products.

“A recent Oxfam survey found that for every £1 spent on local produce £3 is returned to the local economy. Sales of produce from across the Yorkshire region at the shop last year surpassed £3.2m, meaning it helped return almost £10m to the local economy.

“On the farm, they are developing a specialist sheep breeding programme, buying young lambs and then bringing them on. They take into account many factors when rearing the lambs to ensure they achieve the consistent quality they are looking for.

“They are eventually hoping to produce up to 2,000 lambs a year - all to be sold exclusively through Keelham Farm Shop.”

The Food and Farming Industry coup caps a momentous year in both the regional and national awards arena for Keelham Farm Shop.

The business was highly commended in the 2010 Taste Yorkshire Awards for its home-made Yorkshire pork, rhubarb and mango sausages.
It was also shortlisted for the second year in succession as one of three finalists for the annual Business in Excellence Awards run by a regional daily newspaper.

In addition, Keelham was among three finalists – again for the second consecutive year – in the Farm Shop Butchery of the Year category of the national Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards run by the Meat Trades Journal.

Victoria Robertshaw said: “It’s been another year of remarkable growth, development and diversification, during which we have continued to set new records in both customer numbers and turnover. We are now one of the most successful and progressive farm shops in the country.

“In a year of many highlights, this national award from our own food and farming industry is the crowning glory, and the fact that Sainsbury’s was chosen as Retailer of the Year clearly demonstrates what exalted company we are keeping.

“This spectacular achievement can be put down to the efforts of the entire Keelham team – every single one of them.

“Importantly, our growing impact in the awards arena is also helping to significantly raise the profile of the area by putting Bradford and the wider Yorkshire region even more firmly on the national and international food maps. We are proud to play our part in promoting this wonderful county and its vast diversity of local producers and suppliers.”

Keelham’s awards windfall may not be over, as the shop is also a finalist in not one, but two farm shop award categories from the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association (FARMA).

The business is competing to win the prestigious title of National Farm Retailer of the Year, as well as the Best on-farm Butchery Award. The winners in both categories will be announced on January 25, 2011, at FARM & MORE, the sector’s national conference.

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