Peelham Farm, the family-run farm at Foulden in Berwickshire, has been named in Parliament as an example to food producers everywhere.
Peelham was honoured with the second annual Clarissa Dickson Wright Award for contribution to food, farming and education.
The prize, part of the Countryside alliance Awards, was set up to carry on the legacy of the late cook, author and “Two Fat Ladies” broadcaster Clarissa Dickson Wright, was presented at the Houses of Parliament on February 4.
Peelham’s Denise Walton said: “We are delighted to win this Countryside Alliance Champion of Champions award. Our ethos is to provide quality, unadulterated food and to build resilience into our farm so that it’s there for the next generation of our family and customers.”
Clarissa Dickson Wright’s great friend, Baroness Mallalieu, who is President of the Countryside Alliance, presented the Award to Denise and Chris Walton from Peelham at a Parliamentary reception for the awards. Baroness Mallalieu helped to select Peelham as the winners, based on criteria Dickson Wright herself had set.
Baroness Mallalieu told the Parliamentary reception: “We have been mindful of what mattered most to Clarissa, namely a focus on strong animal husbandry, support for slow and artisan food and a platform for the efforts being made to foster our farming heritage through measures such as protecting rare breeds.
“With this in mind, our winner’s philosophy fits the bill. They practice ‘sustainable self-reliance’ and their motto is ‘Love the land, love the animal, love their meat’.
“As an integrated organic farm butcher business they have skilled-up staff to handle the rigorous quality assurance, animal welfare and transparency expectations of the organic system to produce quality products with trusted provenance. Peelham Farm’s own “Meat Manifesto” is an initiative of which Clarissa would have approved enormously. The manifesto states that Peelham Farm produce “is good, clean and fair”. It goes on to explain what “good, clean and fair” means in husbandry, environmental and slow-reared taste terms, highlighting the fact that Peelham animals are able to express their natural foraging and grazing characteristics.
“Education is a key part of the ethos and Peelham hosts several schools visits each year.
“A proudly ethical approach also means veal is no longer off the menu: field-raised calves live free-range with their mothers for around nine months, producing a ruby veal that is both delicious and compassionate
“Peelham also regularly have veterinary, agricultural and culinary skills students on work-placements with them, where they learn about all of aspects of farming and food production.
“The winners have combined farming heritage, rare breeds and organic production into an enterprise that not only produces high quality food, but is environmentally sustainable and recognises that the key to the future of farming is educating consumers, not preaching.”