Essex honey producer beats Suffolk’s Alder Carr Cream Ices to East Anglian food award
PUBLISHED: 22:00 16 March 2017
Great Tilkey Honey at Coggeshall scooped the East of England Co-op’s Producer of the Year 2017 title at its celebrated annual Supplier Supper tonight.
The family-run honey producer, run by Michael Coe, had already taken the Essex title in the county awards and was up against Norfolk and Suffolk county finalists Krusty Loaf and Alder Tree Cream Ices.
As well as celebrating the rich array of produce across East Anglia, the awards also celebrated a significant milestone as the regional retail chain marks 10 years of its Sourced Locally initiative.
Established in 2007, it has grown from a handful of producers to more than 100 supplier partners who provide thousands of different products to stores across Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk.
Michael Coe has been producing clear and set honey for the East of England Co-op stores since 2012.
His business impressed an expert panel of local food and farming experts made up of Terry Hunt, editor in chief at Archant Suffolk, Adnams marketing director Emma Hibbert and Lord Iveagh of Elveden Estates.
From humble beginnings, starting with a single hive in Michael’s back garden and a converted shed for jarring, Great Tilkey Honey has evolved into an established business with a bespoke extraction unit, six apiaries across Essex and Suffolk and a strong customer following.
Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op said: “Michael’s hard work over the last five years exemplifies our Sourced Locally initiative.
“I’m delighted that his commitment and passion has been recognised. His knowledge of bees and educating the public on their welfare is second to none.”
Since 2007 the Sourced Locally initiative, which works in partnership with more than 100 local producers making thousands of products, has enabled the East of England Co-op to plough over £57m back into the regional economy, creating more local jobs.
The retailer has more than 200 branches across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. Details of the producers who were involved in this year’s awards and other local suppliers can be found at here.