Peak mark of success

TWENTY-THREE local businesses were congratulated when they received the 2012 Peak District Environmental Quality Mark awards at a sumptuous dinner made from their own produce.

The awards were presented by Tony Favell, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, at a ceremony at the Old Hall Hotel, Buxton.

Cllr Favell said: “I’m full of admiration for these unique businesses which enrich the character of the Peak District and play a significant role in the local economy. They are truly inspiring for the way they value the environment, play an active role in their community and help conserve the Peak District National Park.”

In addition to the 23 new award-holders, two special awards were made: to Matlock Meadows Ice Cream as the Outstanding Newcomer, and to Robert and Sarah Helliwell, of Upper Booth Farm, Edale, for their Outstanding Contribution to the scheme.

This was the first awards evening organised by the newly formed Environmental Quality Mark Community Interest Company, which has taken over running the scheme on behalf of the Peak District National Park Authority.

Director Faith Johnson said: “We wanted the awards dinner to show off all the wonderful food that Peak District Environmental Quality Mark holders produce – from farmers to butchers to gourmet caterers.

“As a not-for-profit company, we needed to create a banquet on a budget. Award holders were happy to donate their produce, and we can’t thank the Old Hall Hotel enough for working with us to make it happen.”

The evening started with canapés prepared and donated by award recipients Gourmet Express of Grindleford and Strand Fine Catering of Darley Dale. These were accompanied by organic sparkling wine, courtesy of Chris Palmer, Independent Wine Merchant, Buxton.

The hotel’s staff produced a magnificent buffet using Environmental Quality Mark ingredients including High Rakes Farm beef from E.W.Coates butchers of Two Dales, and lamb donated by J W Mettrick & Son butchers, Glossop. Desserts were provided by the Old Hall Hotel, Tindalls of Tideswell, Hope Valley Ice Cream and Matlock Meadows Ice Cream.

The award-winners were:

• Food and Farming

E.W.Coates butchers, Two Dales; High Rakes Farm, Monyash; Gourmet Express, Grindleford Matlock Meadows Ice Cream; Strand Fine Catering, Darley Dale.

• Arts and Crafts

Alison Yule Textiles, Ashbourne; Brough Lea Farm Peak Yarns and Fibres, Hope Valley; Glass at the Barn, Tissington; Peak District Creations and Look Creations, Whaley Bridge.

• Accommodation

Beech Croft Farm Caravan and Camping Park, Blackwell; Fernyford Barn at Big Fernyford Farm, Reapsmoor, near Longnor; Whitehouse Barn Holiday Cottages, Thorncliff, near Leek; Old Post Office Barn, Upper Hulme.

• More than just accommodation

Dewsnaps Farm, near Chinley - also handcrafted wood products; Losehill House Hotel, Hope - also luxury spa and AA rosette restaurant; Nightingale Centre, Great Hucklow - also conference and charity venue; Yorkshire Bridge Inn, Bamford - also traditional pub.

• Tourism and recreation

Peak Walking Adventures, Belper; Sidecar Safaris, Tideswell; Steep and Deep, and Acclimbatize, Bonsall.

• Training and facilitation

Clearer Thinking, Buxton; Peak Organics, Darley Dale; Walls for the Future, Ashbourne.

The 2012 awards take the number of current award-holders to 64. Award-holders are able to display the Environmental Quality Mark logo, and their listing on the national park website gives a boost to their search-engine rankings.