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Redhill Farm Free Range Pork crowned Supreme Champion 2020 proving ethical farming produces truly Great Taste 09 Dec

Great Taste has reached its grand finale for 2020, with the top honour of Great Taste Supreme Champion presented to Redhill Farm Free Range Pork near Gainsborough in Lincolnshire for its Free Range Pork Shoulder. Acknowledged as the world’s most respected food awards for artisan food producers, Redhill Farm’s Free Range Pork rose to the top through every stage of judging from 12,777 entries from over 100 countries of the best food and drink in the world.

Ethically farmed to the highest welfare standards by Jane and Terry Tomlinson, Redhill Farm’s Free Range Pork Shoulder impressed the judges with its “flavour reflecting how the animal has been treated with love, care and attention.” Providing their Duroc cross pigs with everything they need to enjoy a natural, stress-free life, Jane and Terry are also dedicated to ensuring that nothing unnecessary is imposed on their animals, as they spend their days happily roaming and rooting around the farm.

Having won Great Taste awards for 17 years in a row, and for every product they produce, also being awarded 3 of the most coveted Golden Fork awards for the region (the Fine Food Oscars) in 2014, 2019 & 2020, Redhill Farm has produced consistently high levels of quality, year in, year out. Now earning the ultimate seal of approval from some of the world’s most demanding palates, who revelled in the Free Range Pork Shoulder’s “tremendous character”, describing it’s “extraordinary depth of flavour” the Lincolnshire-based farm has been rewarded for the extra time, effort and care that has gone into every stage of the farming and production of its free range pork.

Committed to working only with likeminded partners, who value quality, provenance and authenticity, Redhill Farm is highly selective about who it supplies and continues to sell most of its produce in person at local farmers markets and through its two shops; the aptly named ‘Shop on the Farm’ and the recently opened ‘Shop in the Bail’ in the Cathedral Quarter of Lincoln, also a double finalist Guild of Fine Food ‘Shop of the Year’ 2019 & 2020. Through this comprehensive approach to the production and selling of its pork, this year’s Great Taste Supreme Champion plans to remain an ethical small business that delivers quality from farming through to retail.

Jane Tomlinson, managing director of Redhill Farm Free Range Pork, commented: “We enter Great Taste each year to prove our quality and to prove it consistently year in, year out… in our quest to stand out from the crowd. I think with this award we may just have finally achieved that!”

For Jane and Terry, winning Great Taste Supreme Champion has seen the business come full circle. After two decades of championing the benefit of free range produce with genuine provenance and proven quality, now Redhill Farm has proven undoubtedly that they are truly world class.

Jane commented: “British farming is facing it’s biggest threat in decades with the risk of cheap, low grade meat coming in from the USA in high volumes and swamping the UK market. Why is the UK still insisting on trying to compete with high volume and low price when it comes to food and especially meat? Quality food needs be priced fairly but accordingly. This situation is exactly what Terry and I had to face up to ourselves with the collapse of the British pig industry from imported mass-produced pork coming in through Europe and legally being sold as British two decades ago.

“As livestock farmers, the future of our small farm was in the hands of other, bigger business dictating how the industry was heading. Faced with this level of competition and realising that every pig farmer in the UK would need to sell their own pork, I decided that we would just have to try to be one the best. I believed in the quality of our free range pork and knew we could compete on our terms – on quality foremost, but also on honesty, loyalty and genuine provenance. Having to start again from scratch with three children under the age of five, was not the ideal way to start a business but I made time once the children were in bed - ‘Redhill Farm Free Range Pork’ was born overnight at the kitchen table. I had confidence that given the opportunity people would choose higher quality if they could buy it directly by from the people that produced it”.

With no existing independent routes to market, and shunning the dishonesty of the supermarkets, Jane founded and ran six of the first Farmer’s Markets in Lincolnshire to provide customers with direct access to the food that was grown in their own county. This was at a time when there were no commercial Farm Shops and no Farmer’s Markets outside of London and Bath.

“Selling to customers face-to-face at Farmer’s Markets and fast becoming the only stall with a long queue wherever we went, we soon discovered that we had something a bit special. We could not have imagined that 20 years later we would actually be crowned Great Taste Supreme Champion, the highest seal of approval we could ever achieve from our peers in the fine food industry. If we can do this from our small farm with our own produce then surely the UK farming industry can stand up and compete on terms of quality with the rest of the world too”.

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of Great Taste, added: “Jane and Terry Tomlinson are truly worthy winners of the Supreme Champion accolade, having consistently achieved Great Taste stars and trophies over many years, raising their game along the way to reach the very top of the pile. As uncertainty continues regarding food safety and animal welfare standards post-Brexit and the nation continues to take a closer look at where its food comes from throughout the COVID-19 crisis, this win for Redhill Farm serves as a timely reminder of what our best farmers are doing to feed us, care for their animals and nurture their patch of land. Going above and beyond free range standards, Redhill Farm has produced a joint of pork that rose above 12,776 other products to take the top prize, which should give those in power some food for thought. 2020 has seen unprecedented challenges thrown at folk in food and drink, whether they’re producers, retailers – or awards schemes for that matter – but this is a rare moment to celebrate and savour.”

Having impressed at every stage of the blind-tasted judging process, as a record-breaking 12,777 entries were assessed over 14 weeks of remote judging and socially distanced judging sessions, the Free Range Pork Shoulder was crowned Great Taste Supreme Champion 2020 during the virtual Great Taste Golden Fork award ceremony on Thursday 22 October.

This year’s panel of judges included; cook, writer and champion of sustainable food, Melissa Hemsley, cook, writer, stylist and voice of modern vegetarian cooking, Anna Jones, celebrated Spanish chef, José Pizarro, Kavi Thakrar from Dishoom, food writer and cook, Xanthe Clay, and baker and author, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Waitrose. These esteemed palates tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the Golden Fork trophy winners and the Great Taste 2020 Supreme Champion.

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