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Pioneering home-grown beans firm Hodmedod, based at Halesworth, ‘blown away’ after scooping BBC Food & Farming Award

PUBLISHED: 12:44 21 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:40 21 September 2017

From left: Professor Martin Wolfe (Wakelyns Agroforestry), Emma Wilkins (Hodmedod), Josiah Meldrum (Hodmedod co-founder), Giorgio Locatelli (judge), William Hudson and Nick Saltmarsh (Hodmedod co-founder), Joe Gaze (Hodmedod) and farmers Mark Lea and Andrew Fairs. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

From left: Professor Martin Wolfe (Wakelyns Agroforestry), Emma Wilkins (Hodmedod), Josiah Meldrum (Hodmedod co-founder), Giorgio Locatelli (judge), William Hudson and Nick Saltmarsh (Hodmedod co-founder), Joe Gaze (Hodmedod) and farmers Mark Lea and Andrew Fairs. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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A Suffolk home-grown beans firm has scooped a prestigious national award.

Hodmedod team members Joe Gaze, Josiah Meldrum, William Hudson, and Gabriel Titchener.Hodmedod team members Joe Gaze, Josiah Meldrum, William Hudson, and Gabriel Titchener.

Halesworth-based Hodmedod, which has played a pioneering role in establishing markets for British-grown beans, pulses and grains, was crowned Best Food Producer at the BBC Radio 4’s Food & Farming Awards, held on Wednesday (September 20).

“We feel elated. We’re blown away. It’s just incredible,” said the firm’s co-founder Nick Saltmarsh.

The business was set up in 2012 by Nick Saltmarsh, Josiah Meldrum, and William Hudson who felt there was a gap in the market for UK-grown produce.

Many beans and pulses crops had previously been grown in this country but had fallen by the wayside, and they wanted to revive them by working with British farmers.

Hodmedod lentil packs from last year's trial. Photo: POLLY ROBINSONHodmedod lentil packs from last year's trial. Photo: POLLY ROBINSON

Hodmedod was nominated by members of the public and shortlisted by award judges BBC Radio 4 Food Programme’s presenter, Sheila Dillon, and chef, Giorgio Locatelli. In April, the two judges visited Hodmedod’s lentil trials at Wakelyns farm in Metfield and its warehouse in Halesworth. There they were treated to a feast, prepared by the team to show off their range of British grown beans, peas and grains and demonstrate their versatility and quality.

Among Hodmedod’s many milestones are its first crop of commercially-grown British lentils this year, and producing British quinoa, after fostering relationships with UK farm businesses, including Home Farm Nacton, near Ipswich. The firm, which was among thousands to enter the various categories, said winning was “a great honour”.

Nick said: “We’re over the moon to have won Best Food Producer in the 2017 BBC Food and Farming Awards. It’s fantastic recognition of everything we and our farmers have been doing over the last five years to get more pulses and grains growing on British farms and into British kitchens - and a great boost to do more.”

William told the audience: “We want to get the right amount back to farmers so they can make a living. We want to change farming.”

Hodmedod founders Nick Saltmarsh, Josiah Meldrum and William Hudson.Hodmedod founders Nick Saltmarsh, Josiah Meldrum and William Hudson.

Awards host Sheila Dillon said: “I find it just so incredibly moving. These are all people who work away doing extraordinarily high quality work. They do it because they care about it. There’s a lot in the world to make you feel cynical and tonight’s a kind of an antidote to cynicism.”

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