Saturday, 29 August 2015

Firm relishing its eastern promise

EASTERN Europe has been named as a burgeoning market by a company shortlisted for a top award.

CONTENDERS: Hawkshead Relish Company owners Mark Whitehead and Maria Whitehead

The Hawkshead Relish Company has been nominated for a Rural Oscar, an awards scheme organised by the Countryside Alliance.

The awards recognise the best produce across the UK and next year regional winners will go forward to a national final.

The firm has already picked up around 10 business awards and more than 45 Great Taste Awards for its products.

Maria Whitehead, managing director of the Hawkshead Relish Company, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled.

“It highlights the fact that rural businesses can succeed.

“You don’t have to be on an industrial estate, or in a town, you can be successful and still live in a rural area.”

Mrs Whitehead said along with a strong position in the UK market the firm is exporting goods to China, Russia, Oman and the former Eastern Bloc with shipments to Hungary, Estonia and the Czech Republic all being made.

She put this down to the ‘two-way’ trade off of immigration and said as Eastern Europeans return home many have taken products back with them creating a taste and demand for the Lake District in their homeland.

At present the firm is preparing a delivery for Estonia and has a strong presence in Russia along with the Eastern bloc.
Countryside Alliance North West Regional Director Simon Hamlyn applauded the shortlist.

He said: “It is exciting to see such a diverse range of rural businesses included in this list and I look forward to meeting the people behind each shop counter.

“The North West continues to have a tough year with bad weather affecting the harvest and tourism. It is vital that we support our small rural businesses and help to revive our rural economy – celebrating them in the ‘Rural Oscars’ gives them a well-deserved boost.”

Regional winners will be announced in January and will then go forward to the Grand Final which takes place in the Houses of Parliament on March 13.


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