Food and Farming Awards 2012
The 28th of November 2012, will be quite a memorable day for Once Upon A Tree.
The anticpation since learning we were finalists was unbearbale. However I had managed to convince myself that we wouldn't win. The oppostion was very strong after all...
Arriving in the theatre we looked for signs or signals of if we'd won or not. "We don't have "Gold" tickets" I said to Hannah, when we were looking at the signs at the entrance of the theatre, "They must be the ones for the winners. We haven't won, lets just relax and enjoy ourselves!" But we were guided in to the front of the theatre with all of the other finalists...
We met Pete Brown who had judged us, but he had his poker face on!
Our reserved seats were at the wrong end of the stage "They wouldn't have us walking right in front of the audience to get on stage - we haven't won." I whispered to Hannah.
The show started - Gwyneth Williams, Director of Programmes for Radio 4, introduced the awards and the main presenters Sheila Dillon and Valentine Warner took up their stations. Several categories came and went - all with incredible, inspirational stories. "Surely, we're not of that calibre?" I thought.
Pete Brown introduced the Drinks Producer finalists. I was sure he was tallking about the Kernel Brewery. Then he said "...and the winner is, Once Upon A Tree" and the cheers (and screams!) from the audience were incredible! (I didn't realise that half of Herefordshire had arrived!)
We had WON!
BBC Food & Farming Awards 2012. Best Drinks Producer.
We all walked on to the stage and eagerly shook Pete's hand. The big screen was showing images of our orchard and ourselves, whilst snippets of the recording that were made when the judges visited were being played. It was somewhat surreal!
Shelia Dillon & Valentine warner were up on stage grinning at us, saying "Well done" and Sheila asked me a question or two, and I answered, but I honestly cannot remember what I said - I wish I'd prepared something! But it's OK, I can talk the cider talk until the cows come home!
We returned to our seats and I realised that I was shaking. I looked across the others and just saw grinning faces, and I realised I too must have looked like the Cheshire cat too! but I was thinking "I'm just some bloke making cider in Herefordshire - How did I get here?!"
It's taking a while to sink in...! This is big. Actually, this is BIG! REALLY BIG!
The phone hasn't stopped ringing, emails and tweets have flooded in. James is labelling furiously in the Cider Shed just to keep up with number of mail orders going out...
5 Years is a very short time in business. We have just pressed our 6th harvest. Thats only six attempts at getting it right, and the latest lot is only just fermenting - Looks like we're doing things well enough though!
Listen to the Awards Ceremony or read more about the awards and the other category award winners on the BBC Food & Farming web page
BIG thanks to everyone who has supported us so far - you can all take a share in this award!