A Burscough farm has been named as the Best Producer in the whole of Lancashire.
The news was announced on the same day the Neale family opened a new tea room and farm shop at their family farm on Martin Lane.
Almost 200 producers from across the North West gathered at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel, Accrington, on Thursday, March 13, to compete in what have become the most prestigious food awards in the region.
From breweries to bread makers, cheeses to chutneys and delis to dairies, almost every sector of the of the region’s food industry was represented at the awards.
The North West Fine Food Awards have been running for the last six years and are judged by an expert panel of 24 judges including leading regional chefs and national food writers.
Alongside picking up the best producer in the county, Bill and Freda Neale also collected the award for Best Fruit, Vegetable or Herb for The Farm, Burscough, with their Lady Christl potato.
Just that morning the family had opened their new business to the public with a stylish tea room and large farm shop in a newly renovated 18th Century brick-barn. The building, on Martin Lane, also houses three bed and breakfast rooms.
The Neales have been farming in Burscough for generations and are well known for participating in Farmers’ Markets across the region.
Freda Neale said: “It has been an incredible week for us as we opened the tea room and shop for the first time on Thursday morning and then by the evening we had been named best producer in Lancashire!
“We are absolutely thrilled because there is a lot of hard work involved in getting our produce just right.
“We have won category awards in the past for the quality of our vegetables, jams and chutneys but never an overall best producer. It has been a fantastic boost and will hopefully be a good omen for our new challenge.”
Daughter, Cathy, added: “It has been a lot of hard work to develop the tea room, B&B and shop, particularly with two small children to look after – so it is great to see the business open.
“We sold our house to invest in this project so I am delighted that we can serve, what is, officially best produce in Lancashire to our customers!”