Staff overwhelmed as farm shop wins national award
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
TEESDALE has been put in the spotlight after one of its farm shops was last week declared the country’s best provider of local food and drink by the Countryside Alliance.
Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop won the title during an online awards ceremony on Wednesday, August 25.
Known as the “rural oscars”, more than 18,000 nominations were made for this year’s awards with Cross Lanes being named as the national local food/drink champion.
Earlier this year the farm shop was identified for the second time as regional winner but it is the first time it has achieved the national accolade. Manager Deborah Hare said staff were “shocked” and “overwhelmed”.
She added: “To actually win the final is absolutely huge – we are chuffed to bits. We have a fantastic team and after the year or 18 months that we have all been through – it has not been easy – this has made it all worthwhile. It encourages everyone to keep going.
“I think the judges considered what we did during lockdown for the community through our grab-and-go services and home deliveries, as well as helping the environment and the sustainability of what we do. We were initially nominated by our customers and we wouldn’t be here without our customers.”
Owner Peter Coverdale also said the award had come as a surprise.
He added: “We tend to have our noses to the grindstone and we don’t know how other people feel [about the shop].”
He also said the award had come at the right time as the shop has just started online sales and the national attention would be a welcome boost. Mr Coverdale also credited the great quality of the produce supplied by businesses across Teesdale.
Countryside Alliance awards director Sarah Lee said: “Our judges have had a particularly difficult time singling out winners from thousands and thousands of entries. These awards come at a time when many rural businesses are working around the clock to rebuild from the turmoil caused by Covid-19. They need our support now more than ever and I hope these well-earned titles reinforce just how important the victors are in their respective local communities.”