Get voting for the Co-op’s Producer of the Year Award 2015

Six of the region’s best loved food and drink producers are in the running to be crowned East of England Co-op Producer of the Year 2015 – with each now aiming to attract enough public votes to secure their place in the final.

With voting set to open on 3rd January, the Co-op’s Producer of the Year Awards showcase the quality and diversity of more than 140 growers and producers from Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk who contribute to its award-winning Sourced Locally range.

This year’s six outstanding local producers, judged on their achievements in product innovation, carbon cutting and staff development – plus what gives their business the ‘wow’ factor, are:


  • Ken Green Fish of Clacton – producers of smoked and frozen fish,
  • Fairfields Farm of Wormingford – growers and producers of crisps and potatoes,


  • Norfolk Brewhouse of Fakenham – brewers of Moon Gazer real ales,
  • Cornerways of Stokes Ferry, Kings Lynn – growers of tomatoes,


  • Taste of Suffolk of Bury St Edmunds – producers of fresh sausages and cooked meats
  • Hadleigh Maid of Hadleigh – producers of chocolate bars, mallow whirls and selection boxes

Kevin Warden – East of England Co-op’s Local Sourcing Manager said, “Our six shortlisted producers showcase the fantastic array of outstanding food and drink grown and made in East Anglia. Now we’re calling on our members and customers to get voting and tell us which great-tasting local products they’ve most enjoyed this year.“

Those with the most public votes will be announced as county champions and each will then face the prestigious panel of judges: Lady Caroline Cranbrook OBE – a tireless campaigner on rural issues; Galton Blackiston – Michelin starred Norfolk chef; Terry Hunt – editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ken Crowther, BBC Essex gardening presenter. The overall Producer of the Year will be announced at a Sourced Locally supper at Wherstead Park, Ipswich on March 19th.

Last year’s event, which received over 3,500 public votes, was won by Lane Farm Country Foods of Brundish near Woodbridge, who supply the East of England Co-op with sausages, bacon, ham, salami and chorizo.

Ian Whitehead, owner of Lane Farm said: “We were delighted to have been voted ‘Producer of the Year’. The support we got from our customers was overwhelming – so a big thank you to them.”

Since 2007 the East of England Co-op has put £25 million back into the regional economy, creating over 400 local jobs and protecting many more. In almost five years, its Sourced Locally range has grown from a few suppliers to over 140 bringing over 2,400 local products into stores – demonstrating just how important local suppliers and the Sourced Locally brand are to the Society, its members and customers.

Kevin added: “We work closely with our producers and the awards bring everyone together to celebrate and highlight their hard work and achievements over the year.”

Members and customers can vote online until 14th February – plus every East of England foodstore will host an in-store voting event to make it easy for local shoppers to get involved. Voters will automatically be entered into a free prize draw to win £100 of shopping vouchers.

To read more about the shortlisted suppliers and to vote for your favourites go to

Sausage King visit to Mountain’s Boston Sausage

To say I was excited about visiting Mountain’s Boston Sausage is an understatement!  Richard Booth from CTH said that if I was searching for the perfect British sausage and if I visited it could be the end of my journey!  How could I turn down a visit with such a recommendation!

On the way I popped into BBC Radio Lincolnshire (listen from about 2 hr 41 min) and had a great chat with Scott Dalton and Carla George on the breakfast show.  We talked about why Lincolnshire sausages are so great and by the time we had finished I was even more keen to get over toMountain’s Boston Sausage to sample the delights for myself!

First I popped into the unit where, overseen by Dan Mountain, the sausages are made to a recipe that hasn’t really changed for more than 100 years.  It was great to see that the sausages were still made by hand the traditional way and then hung up to dry for a day.  The enthusiasm from Dan and his team was obvious.  They are very proud of their history and products and I couldn’t wait to try them.


The smell was amazing!


Luckily for me Dan also had another product made with the same sausage recipe all cooked up ready to try!


I’ve seen haslet in various butcher’s shops but never had the opportunity to try this.  Wow!  What an introduction to haslet and to the Boston Sausage flavours.  Absolutely perfect.  I now had high hopes for the sausages as we headed into town to meet Scott at the shop.


To say the shop is impressive doesn’t do it justice.  It’s traditional but modern and when we arrived it was packed with customers.


All of the meat is as locally sourced as possible while maintaining the quality that they’ve become so well know for.


The range in the shop goes so far beyond sausages and haslet that even having a look around was a feast for the eyes!  Luckily for us Scott, who has been part of the family business for over 20 years had some samples cooked up for us.


We tried four varieties and each one had it’s own merits and tasted absolutely first rate.

The Boston Sausage, which they are famous for, is a coarsely ground combination including pork, bread crumbs and sage.  The balance could not have been more perfect.  The flavour of the pork was balanced out perfectly by the other ingredients.

If you like your sausage to be bold and brassy you will like the Farmhouse.  This is based on the traditional Boston Sausage but with a little more sage and pepper.  Another seriously good sausage!

We also tried a stilton sausage and this was also very impressive.  So often in a stilton sausage I find that one ingredient can mask another but this was not the case here.  Super balance and a creamy morish edge created by the addition of stilon.

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better the tomato sausage made an appearance!  This is another one that I think is hard to get right and this is another triumph for Mountain’s Boston Sausage.  You can hear more in the podcast (below) about how the secret to perfecting this sausage.

Four stunning sausages!


I had been excited about visiting Mountain’s Boston Sausage and it certainly lived up to my expectations.  Traditionally made, high quality products, with traditional, locally sourced ingredients where possible.  Meeting the staff and trying the sausages you can easily see why this is a shop which has gone from generation to generation and strength to strength.

Cancel your plans for the weekend, if you haven’t visited Mountain’s Boston Sausage I suggest you do so immediately!

In this podcast I find out more about the sausages and the history of this Lincolnshire icon:


Framlingham Sausage Festival 2014

As always the Framlingham Sausage Festival was a great day out for the whole family.  Lots of producers were carefully spread across the town giving visitors the chance to wander around and take in the sights.

Framlingham is nice.  The sun always seems to shine and there are a wealth of local producers!  The Sausage Festival always has a great feel and this year was no exception.  It was hard to pick a winner because, once again, the standards have been lifted and the entries were good!


A smokey view of market hill!

Congratulations to Mills and Sons who took the title!

Not only were there some great sausages to try but also some great street entertainment and cookery demonstrations.  If you are tempted to visit next year perhaps my podcast (from 2013) will help convince you – Click here and don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes!


I discovered some awesome bacon jam, more on this soon


Great butchery / cooking demo


Always a joy to see the Roadii loaded up


Great advice for life!


Only the best for the Roadii


Ian from Lane Farm hard at work


Pulled pork pizza. Awesome!

Porkstock 2014

Porkstock is a celebration of Norfolk produce, with of course the focus on all things pork.

For us it was a must-visit event and it didn’t disappoint.

Cookery demonstrations, live music, kids entertainment, pork and did I mention it’s held at a brewery!?


Unlike much larger events Porkstock has a great family feel to it.  There was loads for the kids to do to keep them entertained.


The volunteers were genuinely enthusiastic about the event and really great at entertaining the children!

The cookery demos at an event called Porkstock have a lot to live up to and they didn’t disappoint.  The crowds were entertained and innovative samples of various creations were circulated!



To say I was excited about trying a bacon doughnut created by pork genius, Alan Paton, is an understatement.  It was beyond awesome!


As if the day wasn’t good enough our friends at The Fruitpig Company were there with their classic rare breed sausages!