Wed 11 Dec 13
Two go-ahead Fife businesses have been named among just four Scottish finalists in the Local Food category of the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards – a scheme often referred to as the Rural Oscars.
They are Ardross Farm Shop in the East Neuk near Elie, and the Muddy Boots farm shop, cafe and visitor attraction which lies in the Howe of Fife near Cupar.
The success demonstrates Fife's growing reputation for both its producers and its high quality food offering.
The award scheme is now in its ninth year, and the organisers said that they had been inundated with nominations from members of the public.
"The finalists across our four categories represent a true gold standard of rural business.
"All of our finalists will be invited to the final at the Scottish Parliament in March 2014.
"There we will celebrate Scotland's rural businesses and communities and announce a champion in each category.
"Those champions will go on to represent Scotland at the British finals at Westminster in April," said a spokesperson.
Ardross and Muddy Boots are finalists in the "Local Food" category, and they are joined by Peelham Farm Organic, of Foulden and the Sun Inn, Dalkeith.
Both businesses have helped in the development of the Fife Food Network's "Food from Fife Initiative" and yesterday director Viv Collie expressed delight over the announcement.
"These are two fantastic, family run businesses which grow and sell their own superb produce and other great food products from all over the country.
"Both have become visitor destinations in their own right, and they constantly spread the message about our wonderful local and Scottish natural larder.
"Fife has a huge amount to offer from both sea and field, and both businesses richly deserve the honour – especially as it comes direct from public nominations" said Viv.
The Countryside Alliance Awards started life in 2005 as the Best Rural Retailer competition.
The organisers state that the awards were born of a need to support and promote rural communities and to acknowledge the efforts of thousands of unsung heroes who routinely go above and beyond the call of duty for their communities.
"The Countryside Alliance had long felt the "doom and gloom" tales of rural decline about dwindling services, a collapsing farming sector and the death of village life did not accurately reflect the spirit of rural people and their desire to protect our landscapes, heritage and communities for future generations.
"The Countryside Alliance Awards took over where the Retailer competition left off, broadening the categories to include heroes who are not necessarily retailers" passionately enough that person, shop, business or community group could be on the way to regional, or maybe even national, glory. The feel good factor this competition has already generated is immense, and it continues to go from strength to strength.