BBC Countryfile’s Matt Baker selects ‘Taste of Kent’ cherry winner
There were over 40 entries for the Taste of Kent Awards soft fruit and cherry classes this year, the largest number of entries since the award, sponsored by East Malling Research, commenced three years ago.
Kent’s tastiest cherry, tastiest strawberry and tastiest raspberry were chosen at the National Cherry & Soft Fruit Show, and this year, one farmer hit the jackpot winning all three awards. John Myatt & Co who farms at Cliffe Woods, near Rochester, was announced the winner for their strawberry variety Magnum, their raspberry variety Tulamen and their cherry variety Vanda.
John Myatt from J. Myatt & Co of Mockbeggar Farm near Rochester, Kent, said “We are absolutely delighted to have our fruit selected to win all three classes for the Taste of Kent Awards Garden of England Champion category this year. These classes are particularly important to our farm as we always select particular varieties and pick at the optimum time to ensure the flavour is always at its best. We are a supplier to Marks & Spencer particularly because of the flavour of our fruit. The work that Produced in Kent are doing through these awards is to be commended and very valuable to the industry”
Dr Mark Else, Science Programme Leader at East Malling Research (EMR) comments: “Congratulations to the winner. Winning all three fruit categories takes a huge amount of dedication and an extremely high level of attention to detail. We are delighted with this clear winner – clearly a business at the top of their game!”
Paul Kelsey, Chairman of the National Cherry & Soft Fruit Show said “We are delighted to see the growth in the number of entries in these Taste of Kent Awards classes this year. This clearly justifies the collaboration between the National Cherry & Soft Fruit Show and Produced in Kent, the organisers of the Taste of Kent Awards, to raise awareness of Kentish fruit.
BBC’s Countryfile programme was filming at the Kent Show for its Summer Special episode to be shown on Sunday 26th July, including filming the live preparation of a cherry salsa recipe with Dan Kennedy of the Kent Cookery School in the Produced in Kent area.
Matt Baker said, when interviewed by Adam Dowling on BBC Radio Kent’s Drive Time programme that evening said: “I had the honour of judging the tastiest cherry, oh the secrecy of cherry judging! I had three punnets in front of me and I was there for about half an hour but I had to make a decision. There were fireworks going off in my mouth”.
Stephanie Durling from Produced in Kent said: “We are absolutely thrilled that for the first time we have one soft fruit grower scooping all three awards. These awards are always such a ringing endorsement for soft fruit and cherry farmers across Kent. The involvement of Countryfile has been an added bonus for us and we are delighted that Matt Baker was able to be a part of the award this year.”
The Taste of Kent Awards has been running since 2004 and are recognised as the outstanding annual showcase for Kent food and drink. The awards promote a wide range of categories and are open to all food and drink businesses across Kent. The campaign begins each year with the commencement of public voting between September and early January. This year it is expected in excess of 16,000 votes will be cast, which has been increasing year on year, clearly demonstrating that more and more consumers are buying Kent products and are interested in supporting local businesses.
The winning growers will formally receive their award at the Taste of Kent Awards Gala dinner, which takes place in March 2016.
Notes to Editors:
The Cherry Salsa recipe can be found in the Produced in Kent food trail “Cherry Ripe” available at www.producedinkent.co.uk/publications
For further information or pictures contact:
Alison Baldwin, Coast
Tel: 01233 503200 / 07949 561489
Stephanie Durling, Produced in Kent
Tel: 01732 853170