Cumbrian mutton scoops food award

A master butcher from Furness, Cumbria, is in the running for an overall regional food accolade having already scooped a sub category award for his three-month air dried mutton.

Farmer Sharp, a farmers' cooperative based in Lindal, won the Air Dried Meat sub category at this month's North West Fine Food Awards.

The firm's farmers breed Herdwick sheep and Galloway cattle.

Farmer Sharp was one of 12 Cumbrian entrants to win a range of prizes in a variety of sub-categories, from soft cheese and soups, to bread and biscuits.

Andrew Sharp, managing director of Farmer Sharp, said he was delighted to be among the Cumbrian winners.

He said: "Awards like this are great because it gives us recognition and it is nice that a product that we think is stupendous is given the accolade that it deserves - with which the judges agree."

Sharp added it was only the second competition he had ever entered in his 25-year-long meat career and said if the judges liked a product which was authentic and different then the Herdwick mutton could stand a chance of becoming an overall winner at the final held at a VIP gala dinner in Manchester next month.

A panel of judges will select overall category winners for North West Fine Food Producer of the Year 2007 and North West Fine Food Best New Product 2007 and there will also be winners for the best producers in each county (Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester).

Sharp, who is an adviser for the Mutton Renaissance Campaign, said: "It is a mutton product and that in itself has become more fashionable - maybe it has come at the right time."

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