Barbara Cossins, founder of Dorset’s Love Local Trust Local label and annual food producer awards, shares some of the most moving stories behind this year’s deserving winners.
Love Local Trust Local more than just a label. It is becoming an entire Dorset food movement. And in the annual Love Local Trust Local Awards there is a way to tell the story of where our Dorset food & drink comes from.
The Awards celebrate the best of the best in those small Dorset businesses who put their heart and soul into creating our locla produce. Organisations that create honey and cheese, source local fish and meat, bake cakes and savouries, blend gins & mixers, cook jams & condiments, pick flowers and fruit and much more.
The 2021 awards counted 14 categories, including ones for those who contribute significantly to innovation, diversity, conservation and sustainability in Dorset food & drink production. This year there were many impressive achievements by the award entrants, as they battled to survive against the pricing and weight
Sewage in the oyster farm
Dorset Oysters are one of the heart-warming stories. Runners Up in the 2021 Love Local Trust Local Fish Awards category, they faced an immense challenge last summer when the authorities poured sewage into their local Dorset waters and they not only had to immediately stop farming, but also withdraw thousands of oysters that had already been sold to loyal customers. The financial implications were huge and they were left to salvage what they could. They have survived in the face of adversity and were celebrated at the awards for their hard work and determination. of the big supermarkets and chains, and against a worldwide pandemic that nearly destroyed many of them.
The terrible children
There was also an award for a local Dorset restaurant that not only supports Weymouth fishermen but has become an integral part of local life.
Les Enfants Terribles, led by Chef Eric, was ‘on its knees’ when a large group of diners left without paying a huge food & drink bill in the midst of the pandemic. They almost went under – and say it was purely due to the support of the local fishermen who continued to supply them that they didn’t, and got them back on their feet. This unpretentious, cosy bistro is a gem of a restaurant and was the well deserving winner of the Love Local
Trust Local 2021 Recognition Award for Showcasing Local Produce.
Successful enterprise built on ethics and sustainability
One of the outstanding achievements of the 2021 awards were the sterling efforts of Gullivers Farm Shop & Kitchen. A social enterprise that regenerated the oldest building in West Moors and in 2015 opened as a market garden, a deli kitchen, a farm shop and a farm. Their committed team have gone from strength to strength, they farm mindfully and responsibly and hold themselves 100% accountable for maintaining ethical and environmental standards on their organic, biodynamic farm.
“A clear winner. Not taking from the environment, but contributing to it. Conservation and sustainability at its best.”
Love Local Trust Local Judges
As part of Sturts Community Trust, Gulliver’s also offer inclusive living and work employment and work opportunities to those with learning disabilities and special educational needs. The judges of the Love Local Trust Local Awards were ‘blown away’ by the positive spirit of everything they had to offer the Dorset public. As well as winning the Conservation & Sustainability Award, after a powerful and emotional presentation on Awards night, Gullivers were awarded the special Love Local Trust Local Champions Award. The full support of everyone in the room was behind Gullivers as they received a £300 Winner’s
Champions Accolade from the LLTL Judges
Local food is good for more than our plates
Love Local Trust Local are loudly sharing their love for local food with the wider community so that they can continue to educate and encourage people to eat and shop from small, independent businesses nearby. This in turn ensures support for the complex and skilled network of local Dorset farmers and producers, building a thriving economy. We all have to champion British food if we want to keep it in our shops and on our plates.
Sponsored by Blanchards Bailey – Law for Life