Friday, 27 February 2015


With crocuses and snowdrops popping up and the sun shining, we're starting to get excited about spring, but it's still cold out there - so what better way to warm up than with recipe for a delicious Onion Broth made with blackberry vinegar? 

2 large onions 
2 fat garlic cloves 
Olive oil 
2 tbsp Fred & Bex Blackberry Vinegar 
800ml beef stock 
A bay leaf 
For the croutons: 

Serves 2

Start by peeling the onions and slicing them as finely as you can. Peel and finely chop the garlic too. Then put a large scoop of butter and a drizzle of oil into a pan over a medium heat, and once the butter has melted, add the onions and the garlic, as well as a good sprinkling of thyme.
Allow the onions to soften for about five minutes, before adding the blackberry vinegar. Leave the onions for another ten minutes or so, checking regularly that they aren't catching – it’s important that they just soften slowly.

Next, make up the beef stock, and add to the pan. Season the broth with a good pinch of salt and add a bay leaf, then leave it again to bubble gently for about twenty minutes.
By now, the broth should be smelling and tasting pretty fantastic. This is a good time to start preparing your croutons – cut the ciabatta into slices about half an inch thick and toast lightly on both sides.

While the bread is toasting, remove the bay leaf from the broth and purée thoroughly, then strain it to remove any large pieces of onion. Return the strained broth to the hob, over a low heat.
Finish off the croutons by topping them with cheese and popping them under the grill. Divide the broth between two warmed bowls and then once the cheese is bubbling, lay the croutons on top of the soup and eat straight away.


One of our Select Lincolnshire members has an amount of jam with a short date to sell.

Greendog Raspberry or Rhubarb & Ginger jam in jars of 225g normal wholesale £2.35 ech.

Offer price £1.35 or less for bulk order.  

Please contact


In the second of our new series called Behind the Scene, we took a trip to RJ Hirst High Class Family Butchers, to talk to Multi Award Winning Artisan Baker and Local Food Writer, Sadie Hirst. 

RJ Hirst High Class Family Butchers are a traditional multi award winning Butchers shop situated near to the Dambusters Memorials in the beautiful village of Woodhall Spa

Tell us about your background, how you came to the role you are in, describe your passion.

I am a born and bred Yellowbelly and grew up in the village of Woodhall Spa.

Baking is really in my blood, going back through my family history, there are mill owners and Bakers in Alford, a long line of Caterers including for the Masonic Hall in Spilsby. I think I was destined to end up making food. I collect antique and vintage cookery books and I recently inherited some old family cook books, which are really precious to me.

My Working life started in catering and I have ended up going full circle, both in terms of working in the village and also working with food. My first job in the late 80’s was as a General Assistant for The Dower House Hotel in Woodhall Spa, this was a fantastic grounding in all aspects of the catering and hospitality industry. I then moved down to the Southwest and on to work for several hotels and a Casino in Torquay.  A complete change of direction came about when I joined the daily newspaper down in Devon. I enjoyed over 15 happy years working first in press and then on into radio in the English Riviera, then up to Exeter. I took a year out to go backpacking around the world in the late 90’s until my old boss eventually tracked me down somewhere in Melbourne and lured me back to the Uk with a great job at Orchard FM in Somerset. So I returned to the Uk and worked there for several years before eventually returning to Lincolnshire, working initially at Viking FM in Hull and then for Mortons and finally Johnston Press based in Horncastle.

My life took an unexpected turn back in September 2003, when I decided to go into this new Butchers shop I heard had opened in Woodhall Spa. I had a friend with me who was down visiting from Cheltenham for the weekend. She came into the shop with me and was very puzzled at this odd exchange that took place between me and Russell. When we got outside, she asked me “what that was all about?” To which I replied “I have no idea, but I’ll end up marrying him!” Russell had run across the road to ask someone who I was too. A few months later we were engaged, then we got married and then we had our Son Oliver. So you just never know what asking for a couple of chicken breasts will lead to. I had never lost my interest in food and it was a natural progression for us that we should work together in the shop.

We are lucky that we work well together as a team, with clearly defined roles within the business. From the outset we both had a clear vision of wanting to support fellow Lincolnshire Producers and revive and preserve traditional local dishes. Joining Tastes of Lincolnshire (now Select Lincolnshire) in those early days really consolidated our aims. It was terrific recognition for us when we won their award of Best Shop and Producer in 2005 and again in 2009.

In 2009 I made the decision to attend Lincoln College, as a mature student and trained as a chef. This gave me the skills and confidence to have our kitchen at home licenced and for me to produce my Hand Raised Pies and baked goods for the shop and Farmer’s Market in Horncastle.

My passion for preserving local recipes and recreating them, has led to me writing a monthly food column for the East Lindsey Target. I try and focus on Festivals, seasonal produce and  our local baking heritage. I am also a member of the British Society of Baking, which upholds the values of sharing knowledge.

What does Lincolnshire Mean to you? 
Home! I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else now. Looking back I was so lucky to grow up in the village, with Jubilee Park, the Pool and the Kinema all on our doorstep. As a kid you don’t appreciate these things and you are eager to explore the world. Coming back as an adult makes you realise just what a special county this is.

I’m immensely proud of our county, there is so much to love about it. I think that Lincoln is one of the most beautiful cities in the country and with all of the excitement surrounding the Magna Carta and Lincoln Castle we are so lucky to have all of this wonderful history on our doorstep.

We are incredibly fortunate to have such a wealth of history, aviation history, The Wolds, The Coast, Tennyson, the coast, the list is endless. Not even mentioning individual attractions. 

Who are your food champions? 
At the risk of sounding a bit cheesy, Russell is my Food Champion. It takes an enormous amount of energy, passion and commitment to get up at 5am most days, in sometimes sub-zero temperature in the shop and consistently make amazing food, doing so with a smile and always making time for our wonderful customers.

My other real food champions are people who love cooking and making good wholesome food, with the best ingredients in their own homes. People who shop locally and appreciate what a fantastic food producing county we live in and they want themselves and their families to benefit from that.

I also really admire Rachel Green, it is great the spotlight she has shone on Lincolnshire producers.

Tell us about your team

We are a micro team of only 4! Russell is the Butcher, I’m the Baker. Sharon is our Full Time Sales Assistant and has been with us almost from the beginning. She is part of the family and is completely in tune with how we run the shop. Simon joined us in November last year as our part time Sales Assistant. He has become an invaluable member of the team very quickly and coped with the madness that is Christmas admirably.

We all share a passion for what we do, we work closely as a unit and pride ourselves on pleasing our customers, both with the produce that they love and for how we look after them when they come.

That’s what makes winning the Select Lincolnshire Awards so precious, it is recognition for all of us that we are getting it right and we really appreciate that.

Tell us which local producers do you use and why.

We work with Scamens eggs in Louth, Bells eggs in Horncastle, Sweet Heat Chill in Horncastle, Saints and Sinners Jams and Preserves, Ownsworth Rapeseed Oil, Curtis’s, Pattesons Chutneys and Sauces, Pocklingtons Bakery, Lincolnshire Honey. The reason we deal with all of these producers is that they have the same commitment to quality and are local artisan producers.

What would you say to other Select Lincolnshire members?

Welcome to a very special group of businesses. Being a Select Lincolnshire member offers you the opportunity to be part of such a powerful food brand. I believe it is stronger now than it has ever been.

With the buzz surrounding the Magna Carta and Lincoln Castle, there is a massive spotlight on the county and it really is an exciting time to be in business here. It is up to us to maximise the opportunities it gives us.

Rachel Green touched on this at the recent awards, that we are making food history now, we are creating the culinary heritage that will be looked back on in future generations.
In years to come people will look back on this time as a hugely important and creative time for making good local food.

There is such a resurgence of interest, appreciation and hunger that people have for good, wholesome food. Select Lincolnshire gives a compass to those customers who want to find us.

For more information visit the RJ Hirst Family Butchers


Lincolnshire has a unique opportunity in 2015 to raise the profile of the county and businesses within it - as it is the 800th Anniversary of the 1215 Lincoln King John Magna Carta. This UNESCO World Heritage status document will be on display in the new subterranean vault at Lincoln Castle from 1st April. We are using this as a significant hook to promote Lincoln & the county and encourage more visitors to the area.

GET INVOLVED - We'd love to see businesses from across the county get involved in the Magna Carta Anniversary year by tailoring your product. Batemans Brewery will be launching a 'Law of The Land' beer ;Can you get creative and offer a Magna Carta 'special' - it could be a King John Cocktail, a Magna Carta Menu or a Hamper fit for the King!

You can find more about the anniversary celebrations here

If you want to take part, please let us know what you will be offering and we will promote it on our websites and when we have media visits - and you can also use the official Lincoln Magna Carta 800 logo. 

Contact for more information

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


In collaboration with Lincoln BIG you are invited to take part in ‘Discover Lincolnshire Markets 2015’. This will be over the upcoming Discover Lincolnshire Weekend, Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th March from 10am to 4pm daily.

It will encompass Lincolnshire producers including Farmers Markets, Craft Markets, Select Lincolnshire and Artists Markets but will be run as one large event on a similar scale and layout to the Lincoln BIG Continental Markets using Lincoln High Street, Cornhill and down the side of WH Smith, with up to 50 stall spaces.

There will be opportunity for stallholders to hire a space for one or both days, although we would prefer both days for continuity for customers. For those who do not have their own stall, we have a contractor who will put our standard market stalls up for a charge.

This event will be marketed as part of the Discover Lincolnshire Weekend publicity.

Due to the interest we've had so far, stalls will be allocated on a first come – first served basis so please ensure that you register your interest at the earliest opportunity.

If the event is successful we hope to repeat this later in the year as part of some larger events.

Select member price will be £50 plus VAT for the weekend or £35 plus VAT per day for a 3m x 3m sq pitch.

If you require a stall or a larger space please let us know.

Please contact to register and arrange an application form.


Explore what is on your doorstep at Discover Lincolnshire Weekend, Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th March from 10am to 4pm daily!

There are a variety of activities around the county on offer, including Farmers Markets, Craft Markets, Select Lincolnshire and Artists Markets running as one large event on a similar scale and layout to the Lincoln BIG Continental Markets using Lincoln High Street, Cornhill and down the side of WH Smith, with up to 50 stalls!

Get a real taste of Lincolnshire and see what you've been missing at home!


The Quarterly Economic Survey is open until 16th March! Don't miss your opportunity to be heard by the Government, HM Treasury and the Bank of England!
What is the Quarterly Economic Survey (QES)?

The Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) is a business questionnaire that gives a ‘health check’ on Lincolnshire’s economy. It is done four times a year at the beginning of each trading quarter, and filled out by county businesses. It forms part of the British Chambers of Commerce’s national survey, and the results given by Lincolnshire businesses contribute to the body of evidence.

Why is the QES survey seen as so important?

QES is the most authoritative national business confidence survey and the first to be published in each quarter. The answers that you give will be used by used by the Government, HM Treasury and the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee to ensure that the right support is being given to businesses not only in Lincolnshire, but across the UK.

How can the QES survey be used by businesses?

QES tells us if UK sales are up or down; how well Lincolnshire firms are doing exporting their good overseas; if county businesses are experience any challenges; how confident business owners feel about the future; and what support businesses need to remain competitive in a global market. You can use the results in:
  • Blog comments 
  • Press Comments 
  • Funding bids 

What are you waiting for? Fill in the survey today! It will only take a few minutes.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


The Farming Minister George Eustice MP visited Holbeach on Thursday 15th January to launch a new body which will champion the area’s food producers.

The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership has created a Food Board made up of senior figures from food and farming which was officially launched on Thursday 15th January 2015.

On the day of the ministerial visit the LEP also unveiled its Agri-Food Plan 2014-2020 whose vision is to create the environment to work towards a long-term ambition to double the economic value of the food industry in Greater Lincolnshire by 2030.

Mr Eustice, who is Minister for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment at DEFRA, presided over the launch of the board and plan at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing in Holbeach, part of the University of Lincoln.

“Greater Lincolnshire is the food heartland of the UK but the agri-food sector is often overlooked when it comes to prioritising support for business,” said Mark Tinsley, a member of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP board who leads on agri-food.

“Without our agri-food sector and all the people in it who grow, harvest, prepare and distribute our food, this region would be in a much worse economic state and the country would have to import far more food than it already does.

“That’s why the Greater Lincolnshire LEP has made agri-food one of its priority sectors, and we’re launching our Agri-Food Plan this week to set out how we can help our food processing and farming businesses to grow even further.”

The Food Board will support the plan’s objectives by informing and advising the LEP on issues and challenges which face the sector such as water management, planning, transport infrastructure, the translation of research to industry or skills requirements.

“We have already made progress with a survey of future water requirements needs and a request for the food sector’s views on the importance of improved flood defences,” said Mark.

Food and Farming Minister George Eustice said: “The food and farming sector is incredibly important to this country – the whole food chain is worth more than £100 billion to the economy, employing one in eight people, and that’s why it’s at the heart of our long-term economic plan.

“We want to support this growth and see the UK food and farming industry become the best in the world – exciting, dynamic and at the forefront of technology and innovation.

“It is excellent to see areas like Lincolnshire taking a lead, recognising the huge contribution the sector makes to the local economy and developing ambitious plans for future growth.”


The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership has secured a further £14.8 million for major developments in the latest round of Growth Deals announced by the Government on 29th January 2015.

The additional funding is more good news for the area’s economy and brings the total allocated to Greater Lincolnshire under Growth Deals so far to £126.1 million.

The new money will go towards five key projects:
• the South Humber Industrial Infrastructure Programme (SHIIP) phase 1 in North East Lincolnshire
• the first phase of regeneration of Scunthorpe town centre
• the first phase of the Lincolnshire Lakes development in Scunthorpe
• Agri-Food Centre of Excellence at the University of Lincoln in Holbeach
• Peppermint Interchange (highway improvement) in Holbeach

Ursula Lidbetter MBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP which has been negotiating with Whitehall, welcomed the latest deal.

“Once again Greater Lincolnshire has done very well in this latest round of funding from central government which supports growth and job creation in the regions by providing money for major infrastructure projects,” said Ursula.

“The five projects which made up our bid for the second round of Growth Deals focus on improving vital transport infrastructure at the ports, building on our excellence in the agrifood sector at Holbeach, unlocking land for much-needed housing and transforming Scunthorpe town centre.

“The latest Growth Deal will bring almost £15m of additional Government funding into Greater Lincolnshire to kickstart these projects, giving our economy a further boost and creating jobs.”

Last year’s Growth Deal for Greater Lincolnshire is already bringing £48.3m of investment in the first year (2015/16) and a further £62.9m from 2016/17 onwards.

It is supporting 12 major developments across Greater Lincolnshire, from the Grantham Southern
Relief Road in the south of the county to the Boole Technology Centre in Lincoln.

Greg Clark MP, Minister for Cities, said: “For Britain to fulfil its potential every part of the country must be an engine of growth. Our successful programme of City Deals and Growth Deals has put power and resources into the hands of local leaders. This billion-pound expansion of Growth Deals fuels the momentum that is now under way in our local economies.”

Specific project information

Peppermint Interchange, Holbeach

Councillor Colin Davie, Lincolnshire County Council:

“I am delighted that this allocation shows Government’s commitment to the Greater Lincolnshire LEP – and the Greater Lincolnshire LEP’s commitment to growing major sectors within our economy like agri-food.

“As the lead applicant for this bid, the county council recognises that new transportation schemes have a real benefit on the local economy.”

Councillor Nick Worth, South Holland District Council:

“South Holland has a vital role to play in the county’s economic prosperity. The roundabout at Peppermint Junction is a much requested and vital part of infrastructure that will enable both housing and economic development and be of huge benefit to the town.

“The food sector around Holbeach and Spalding makes a major contribution to both the local and national economy.  I am pleased we have been able to work with the Greater Lincolnshire LEP to bring this project forward and to support the further growth of our agri-food sector.”

Agri-Food Centre of Excellence, University of Lincoln

The university’s bid is for capital funding for a centre of excellence for the agri-food industry, with a focus on higher level skills and agri-tech and food manufacturing research. The aim is to strengthen research, technological development and innovation in Lincolnshire’s agri-food industry to aid competitiveness.

The university has identified agri-tech as a strategically important area for the development of the whole College of Science, and so this fits into the wider development of science at the university. The funding will allow us to improve the National Centre for Food Manufacturing and grow activity; we expect to make a series of other bids.

Professor Andrew Hunter, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Science, University of Lincoln:

“The university is pleased that the LEP has prioritised the proposed Agri-Food Centre of Excellence for funding under the Growth Deal. The university has growing research strengths in agri-tech, and it is a strategic priority for our future development. The centre will act as a gateway for collaboration between the university and local industry, strengthening collaboration and contributing to regional competitiveness.”

Friday, 13 February 2015


The Lincolnshire Echo

We are overwhelmed by the coverage that the Select Awards have received over the last two weeks.We even had  BBC Look North attending the Awards and covering it across both of their evening bulletins! Here is just a small sample of incredible local coverage that we received. Thank you to all who attended and thank you to the media for their ongoing support of Select Lincolnshire for Food.

The Lincolnite 

Lincolnshire Business

Thursday, 5 February 2015


Restaurants, B&Bs, holiday cottages and food and drink producers all scooped top prizes at this year’s Select Lincolnshire Food, Drink and Hospitality awards 2015.

The annual awards are run by Select Lincolnshire for Food. They recognise and reward the people and businesses behind Lincolnshire’s billion pound food and farming industry.

The winners collected their certificates at a ceremony held at The White Heather at Caenby Corner.

The event included a 4 course meal with a drinks reception prior to it, sponsored by the Bailgate Independent.

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “We've had some fantastic winners this year, proving yet again that Lincolnshire's food and drink is some of the best in the world. My congratulations go to the winners, and Select Lincolnshire will continue to do all it can to spread the word about all the county has to offer."

Gillian Richardson, Business Development Manager for Select Lincolnshire for Food, added: "I would like to congratulate all the winning and highly commended businesses. There is no doubt that what we have in Lincolnshire is among the very best in the UK’s food and farming industry, and it continues to grow from strength to strength every year.

“Winning such a prestigious county award is a great achievement. I would like to thank all the businesses for the valued contribution they make to Lincolnshire’s renowned food, drink and hospitality industry”.

The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on Tuesday 3 February at The White Heather, Caenby Corner.

For all the pictures of the winners and shortlisted businesses collecting their certificates please see our Facebook page.  

Award Categories

People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Lincolnshire Co-op

Winner - Mountains Boston Sausage, Boston.

Highly Commended - Angels Desserts, Lincoln & Manor Farm Shop, Swineshead, Boston. 

Grower of the Year, sponsored by Local Link Recruitment

Winner - Strawberry Fields, Stickford, Boston.

Highly Commended - Ownsworth’s Rapeseed Oil, Fulbeck Farms, Fulbeck, Grantham & Manor Farm Shop, Swineshead, Boston.

Producer of the Year, sponsored by Roythornes Solicitors

Winner - Uncle Henrys, Grayingham, Gainsborough.

Highly Commended - Ownsworth’s Rapeseed Oil, Fulbeck Farms, Fulbeck, Grantham & R J Hirst Butchers, Woodhall Spa.

Retailer of the Year, sponsored by LJ Fairburn Poultry

Winner - Manor Farm Shop, Swineshead, Boston.

Highly Commended - Pink Pig, Holme, Scunthorpe & R J Hirst Butchers, Woodhall Spa & Uncle Henrys, Grayingham, Gainsborough.

Wholesaler of the Year

Winner - Pocklingtons Bakery, Withern, Alford.

Highly Commended - Stokes Coffee, Lincoln & Strawberry Fields, Stickford, Boston.

Self-Catering of the Year

Winner - Elms farm Cottages, Hubberts Bridge, Boston.

Highly Commended - Brackenborough Coach House, Louth & Manor House Stables, Martin, Lincoln.

B&B of the Year, sponsored by Ideal Lincs

Winner - Caxton House, Skegness.

Highly Commended - The Grange East Barkwith, Market Rasen & West View B&B Cottages, South Cockerington, Louth.

Hotel of the Year

Winner - Oaklands Hall Hotel, Laceby, Grimsby.

Highly Commended - Humber Royal Hotel, Grimsby & Supreme Inns, Swineshead, Boston & Tower Hotel, Lincoln.

Caterer of the Year, sponsored by Saul Fairholm

Winner - The Farm Kitchen, Sleaford.

Highly Commended - Bizzibees, Friskney, Boston & Hog Roast, Barton upon Humber.

Venue of the Year, sponsored by Lincolnshire Business

Winner - Hemswell Court, Hemswell Cliff, Gainsborough.

Highly Commended - Oaklands Hall Hotel, Laceby, Grimsby & Tower Hotel, Lincoln.

Teaching Establishment of the Year, sponsored by NPD Direct

Winner - Lincoln Minster School, Lincoln.

Highly Commended - Manor House Stables, Martin, Lincoln & Lincolnshire Montessori, Caistor.

Pub of the Year, sponsored by Saul Fairholm

Winner - Seacroft Holiday Estate- Bar, Mablethorpe.

Highly Commended - The Sebastopol Inn, Minting, Horncastle & Ye Olde Red Lion, Bicker, Boston.

Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Lincolnshire Showground

Winner - Harrisons Restaurant, Barton Upon Humber.

Highly Commended - Oaklands Hall Hotel, Laceby, Grimsby & Pink Pig, Holme, Scunthorpe.

Tea Room of the Year

Winner - The Old Stables, Horncastle.

Highly Commended -  Pepperpot Tea Room at Hall Farm Park, South Kelsey & Uncle Henrys, Grayingham, Gainsborough.