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Vibrant Food & Drink Scene - Celebrated in Produce Mark Awards

The Oscars of the local food and drink industry - the annual Pembrokeshire Produce Mark Awards - were announced today (Wednesday) at the Pembrokeshire County Show.
Four businesses won 'Best New Product' awards; Cinnamon Grove Gin, Farm Cottage Bakery, Texas Kitchen and Lochmeyler Farm Ice Cream.
Coco's restaurant at Milford Haven Docks won 'Best Use of Local Produce in a Hospitality Outlet' and farm shop Siop Carla near Maenclochog was awarded 'Best Use of Local Produce in a Retail Outlet'.
The Pembrokeshire Produce Mark scheme and awards are organised by the food team at Pembrokeshire County Council.
Cllr Simon Hancock, Council Chairman, who presented the awards, said: "We have a vibrant food and drink scene in Pembrokeshire thanks to many talented and adventurous producers, and others who are determined to put local produce at the heart of what they do."
Cinnamon Grove Farm just outside Haverfordwest produces handcrafted dry gin in small batches at a distillery on the family farm, using pure water from a 300-year-old well.
Richard Thomas, who set the business up with his partner Tracey, said the gin's distinctive flavour is thanks to the freshness of the water and the specially selected botanicals.
"We use eleven botanicals in the dry gin and seven in the pink, together with five fruits including blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, which are locally-picked whenever possible," he said.
Alice Richards of Farm Cottage Bakery at Little Hasguard has had a passion for baking for as long as she can remember.
"I'm from a farming family so I grew up with proper farmhouse teas; there was always cakes on the table when I came home from school," she said. "It's what I've always wanted to do."
After working at bakeries and training in various aspects of baking, Alice took the plunge and set up own bakery last year.
She already supplies 15-20 outlets and has a weekly stall at Narberth market but the plans don't stop there. "I'd like a shop," she said. "That's the dream!"
A lifelong passion for another type of cuisine - this time, authentic Texan barbecue - was also a winner in the awards.

Texas Kitchen, run by Bill Crews, launched its range of spice rubs and seasonings earlier this year, inspired by the barbecues of Bill's childhood in East Texas.

"Last year I was coming back from a trip with a suitcase full of barbecue spices and rubbings when I had the idea of creating my own range of Texas seasonings right here in Pembrokeshire," said Bill, who has lived in Fishguard for thirteen years.
He set about creating spice blends with all-natural ingredients and now supplies delicatessens, restaurants and butchers, with plans to source more outlets next year.
Lochmeyler Farm Ice Cream is the winner of the fourth Best New Product award.
The venture is a successful diversification for Margo and Matthew Evans, who run a dairy farm and holiday cottage business at Llandeloy.
The ice-cream is produced using milk from their 350-strong herd, and
as well as supplying 25-30 outlets, the couple have an ice-cream parlour in Haverfordwest and sell at various shows and festivals.
Margo said they were delighted with the response from customers. "It's not so much what they say as the look on their faces when they try it!" she said.

Coco's Restaurant in Milford Haven won the award for 'Best Use of Local Produce in a Hospitality Outlet'.

The restaurant is run by Chris Vane and the head chef is Ben Gobbi who said local produce is 'hugely important to us'.

Ben sources as much local food and drink as possible from fresh organic vegetables to meat, poultry, freshly-landed fish and shellfish, cheese, bakery and more.
Recent menus featured St Govans-landed seabass and Angle seabream as well as Pembrokeshire steak nights and a Pembrokeshire Produce night where every single item on the menu was from the county.
Siop Carla is the winner of 'Best Use of Local Produce in a Retail Outlet'.
The farm shop is run by farmer and butcher Carla Thomas with her husband Gwilym at the family farm Lodor Fach near Maenclochog.
As well as the farm's own meat, including Dexter beef and Preseli mountain lamb, there is a wide range of other Pembrokeshire products.

"We have poultry from Cuckoo Mill, Pant Mawr cheese, fruit from Manorbier, locally-grown vegetables where available, dairy from Maenclochog, and a lot more," said Carla.

Joe Welch, Food Officer for Pembrokeshire County Council, praised the award-winners and said they were all 'blazing a trail for local produce'.
Councillor Hancock is pictured with the Produce Mark Award winners. From the left they are: Bill Crews, Margo and Matthew Evans, Carla Thomas, Tracey and Richard Thomas. Ben Gobbi and Chris Vane and Alice Richards.Produce Awards 2019

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