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Newlands Farm's winning strawberries

A crop ofDriscoll's Zara strawberries grown by Sittingbourne producerNewlands Farmhas been crowned Kent’s Tastiest Strawberry in this year’s Taste of Kent Awards.

The Taste of Kent Awards, organised byProduced in Kent, announced Kent’s Tastiest Strawberry, Rapsberry and Cherry at the National Cherry and Soft Fruit Show, held at Macknade Food Hall in Faversham on 23 July.

Judged on taste alone by both professionals from the industry and members of the public, the winning varieties and growers were as follows:

Kent’s Tastiest Strawberry- Driscoll’s Zara variety, grown by R C Boucher & Sons, Newlands Farm, Sittingbourne

Kent’s Tastiest Raspberry– Nobility variety, grown by John Myatt & Co, Mockbeggar Farm, Cliffe Woods

Kent’s Tastiest Cherry– Penny variety, grown by A C Hulme & Sons, Wingham

Once judging had taken place, the fruit from all of the entries was displayed for sale atMacknade’sFaversham store, with 50 per cent of proceeds (over £800) going directly to supportFoodLoop, an initiative that aims to reduce and reuse unnecessary food waste.

Finn Dunlop, group purchasing manager at Macknade said: “The National Cherry & Soft Fruit Show presents an excellent opportunity at the peak of the season for us to highlight not only the myriad of incredible fruits that can be produced in the UK, but also to raise awareness with our community of the FoodLoop initiative – a cause we passionately believe in.”

The Taste of Kent Awards have been running since 2004 and are regarded as the annual showcase for Kent food and drink producers.

The awards promote a wide range of categories and are open to all food and drink businesses across Kent. Public voting for the 2022 awards opens on 10 January 2022 until 28February and will see thousands of members of the public voting for their favourites.

The organisers added that the awards demonstrate that more and more consumers are choosing to support local businesses buying Kent products and produce.

“If Kent residents spent just 10 per cent of their weekly shopping budget buying something local from Kent, which is easily achievable, this can contribute more than £175 million to the Kent economy,” they said.

The winning growers will formally receive their award at the anticipated Taste of Kent event at the Houses of Parliament on 14 September and will be celebrated once again during the Taste of Kent Awards Gala dinner, which takes place in May 2022.