Finalists for the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2009/10 have been announced by judges following their deliberations held at Harveys Brewery.

Clive Beddall OBE, Chairman of the Judges said: “Natural PR has done a great job of growing the popularity of the awards, with over 9,000 members of the public voting for more than 300 of their favourite Sussex farmers, food and drink producers, young chefs, food shops, butchers, eateries and farmers markets this year.

“This year, there are 13 finalists from West Sussex, eight from East Sussex and three from Brighton & Hove – so a great spread across the county and the quality is absolutely outstanding, demonstrating how Sussex is leading the local food revolution in Britain.”

The Sussex Food & Drink Awards, run by Natural PR in partnership with A Taste of Sussex and JustBIZ, is based on public voting and is all about promoting and rewarding the best Sussex producers and the outlets which support them.

The finalists are:

Sussex Food Producer of the Year – sponsored by Musgrave Retail Partners:
Higgidy Ltd, Shoreham, West Sussex
Prosperity Brownies, Lancing, West Sussex
Real Patisserie, Brighton & Hove

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year – sponsored by Mayo Wynne Baxter:
Dark Star Brewing Company, Haywards Heath, West Sussex
Gran Steads Ginger, Mile Oak, East Sussex
Hepworth & Co Brewing Company, Horsham, West Sussex

Sussex Farmer of the Year – sponsored by Knill James:
Simon Bishop, Netherfield Place Farm, Netherfield, East Sussex (who tragically died in a car accident recently)
Lyn & Jenny Jenner, Nut Knowle Farm, Horam, East Sussex
Helen & Rod Marsh, Middle Farm, Firle, East Sussex

Best Sussex Food Shop – sponsored by JustBIZ:
Cheese Please, Lewes, East Sussex
Pallant of Arundel, Arundel, West Sussex
Sussex Produce Company, Steyning, West Sussex

Best Sussex Eating Experience – sponsored by A Taste of Sussex:
Anise, Felbridge Hotel & Spa, East Grinstead, West Sussex
Simply Delicious, Bognor Regis, West Sussex
The Coach & Horses, Danehill, West Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year – sponsored by SEEDA:
Meads Village Butcher, Eastbourne, East Sussex
Renhurst Farm Shop, Mark Cross, East Sussex
Westdene Butchers, Westdene, Brighton

Sussex Young Chef of the Year – sponsored by Train to Gain:
Oliver Darby, Temptation, Brighton
Dan Hockaday, The Coach & Horses, Danehill, West Sussex
Bradley Jordan, South Lodge Hotel, Lower Beeding, West Sussex

Best Sussex Farmers Market – sponsored by Natural PR:
Pulborough Farmers Market, West Sussex
Shoreham Farmers Market, West Sussex
Uckfield Farmers Market, East Sussex

Organisers have now opened sales for tickets to attend the ‘Sussex foodie event of the year’ – the Sussex Food & Drink Awards dinner, to be held at the East Sussex Golf Resort & Spa on 28th January 2010 with host Danny Pike from BBC Sussex. This black tie event includes a Sussex bubbly and ale reception, sponsored by Harveys; a stunning five-course dinner made from Sussex produce; lots of entertainment; and a lively Oscars-style awards presentation. See www.sussexfoodawards.com or call Natural PR on 01273 857242 for more information.