By MICK WHITWORTH
A cooking ingredient made from shiitake mushrooms grown in the foothills of Snowdonia has been named the most innovative product in the annual awards for producers based on National Trust land.
Umami Seasoning, which can be used as a meat tenderiser or a general flavouring, is produced by The Mushroom Garden in Nantmor, Gwyned. Owned by Cynan Jones (pictured right), it is one of the Trust’s smallest tenant businesses.
Jones said: “We grow our shiitake and oyster mushrooms in four growing rooms and use other Welsh, local ingredients wherever possible in both the maim and our mushroom caviar, which also won an award this year.”
The Umami Seasoning also contains dried seaweed and Anglesey sea salt.
Overall winner in the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards was a cooked salt beef made by farmer and butcher Steve Conisbee from Sussex-cross cattle raised on the Polesden Lacey Estate in Surrey.
In all, 43 products from 27 producers across England and Wales were recognised in the awards, which celebrate produce grown, reared or made on land owned or managed by the National Trust, including tenant farms, orchards and gardens.
This year’s other winners include stoneground flour, dark ale, apple juice, North Devon beef, venison, red wine & onion sausages and dressed brown crab.
Five new producers and 18 new products received awards, including pork chipolata sausages from Chivalrous Farm in Cornwall and wild venison & hazelnut terrine from Cnwd (pronounced Can-old), a smokery and gourmet food business near Carmarthen in south-west Wales.
Rob Macklin, national agriculture and food adviser at the National Trust and chair of the judging panel, said: “This year’s award winning foods have really captured the essence of the special place where they have been grown, bred or produced. It is our aim to really connect customers to where their food comes from and these awards are a great way for us to do this.”
(Photograph: Jason Ingram)