Vote for your favourite VIP (Very Important Producer) from our shortlist to be given a special Golden Fork Award, in partnership with the Great Taste Awards 2016.
Every issue of Feel Good Food, woman&home's sister magazine, celebrates food heroes, or the producers behind the brands. Apart from high standards and dedication to their craft, they have all been awarded stars by the Guild of Fine Foods' Great Taste Awards. You'll recognise the logo, which is a benchmark of quality. These are all smaller producers who will go that extra mile to create something special.
Each year, in partnership with Great Taste Awards, we give a special Golden Fork Award to one of our producers. The award is voted for by you, so take a look through our shortlisted producers and the cast your vote.
Voting opens 1 June and closes 31 July 2016.
CAST YOUR VOTE for a Golden Fork Award.
WH Marriage & Sons, Essex
It is said that the Marriage family have been farmers and millers since the 17th century and today the latest generations are continuing the milling tradition started by brothers William and Henry in 1824.
Director Hannah Marriage told us the company is thriving today: "We have seen an increase in home baking sales, both as a result of the recession and popularity of programmes like The Great British Bake Off. People are becoming more interested in the quality of ingredients - when they bake at home, they invest both time and effort, so they want quality ingredients to ensure good results.
"Consumers also increasingly care about the provenance of their food and want to support independent, British producers, which is great - because we source much of our wheat from farmers within 25-30 miles of our mills."
Michael and Mary Davenport
Cote Hill cheeses
Although they have been farming at Cote Hill for more than 30 years, Michael and Mary Davenport started making cheese 10 years ago when milk prices were very low. After only a year, they won gold at the British Cheese Awards for their Cote Hill Blue. It's a creamy, mild blue and soft cheese made in Lincolnshire. It's unpasteurised, with the milk coming from their own herd of 70 Friesian, Holstein and Red Poll cattle. And because the herd grazes on rich clover summer pasture, then on silage produced on the farm from maize and grass in the winter, the cheese retains its rich butterfat content.
Dressings and relishes
Lucy Mackenzie, the founder of Lucy's Dressings, lives in London with her husband and three children. This is a small company with a home-grown story.
"I started Lucy's Dressings from my kitchen when I was pregnant with my third child - timing has never been my forte!" says Lucy. "I've always loved making dressings and condiments, and used to give them to friends."
"What makes Lucy's different is the quality. We're on a mission to provide people with delicious products they can trust. We use very carefully selected ingredients that aren't packed with sugar."
In 2003, Sophie Browne, a sales and marketing professional, was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disorder. Her health deteriorated and she decided to leave corporate life to do something for herself. Initially, she started baking cakes, but this proved unsustainable. Just as she was about to throw in the towel, in 2011 she hit on the idea of baking M'hencha, and a year later, was awarded three stars for her citrus rosewater and pistachio Moroccan pastry cake.
At present, food festival-goers or those living in the Cotswolds are most likely to have tried Sophie's take on this traditional Moroccan celebration cake. She now wants to grow her business "steadily and sustainably", introducing new people to the flavours of M'hencha, which she describes as "an exotic delight you can tear, share and socialise over".
Her latest award-winner comprises an almond frangipane with orange zest, cinnamon and dates, wrapped in a crisp brick pastry and tightly coiled. "I make the product by hand, which even includes hand-grating the orange zest to get the correct texture and the oils from the zest," she says. She describes it as "crisp on the outside and soft on the inside" with a flavour that is "punchy, spicy and robust".
Besides taking the palate on a journey, this cake promotes a more convivial way of eating. Eaten in the Moorish way, whereby guests tear a piece from the end of the coil then pass the cake on, it is a life-affirming experience, which for Sophie, it truly has been.
Ben and Steph Culpin
Apple County Cider Co
Most commercially available ciders use a blend of varieties. This is largely because there are few apple types that provide the right amount of tannins, sugar and acidity to make an enjoyable cider on their own.
Monmouthshire's Apple County Cider Co is one cider-maker that has found a single varietal that can hold its own. Vilberie is a bittersweet apple that is not widely grown and is generally part of a blend when it is used. But ben Culpin - who, with wife Steph, took over his father's craft cider-making business in 2009 - has found that from this variety he can produce a fruity, sparkling cider with a dry finish.
Ben says the secret to bringing out these characteristics is cold fermentation and the use of a wine yeast. "Apples are harvested in the autumn and pressed," he says. "The juice then sits in a barn for about seven months and enjoys a long, cold fermentation to draw out the depth of flavour." The addition of wine yeast, he says, gives that clean, fresh favour.
Until a couple of months ago, Vilberie cider and the company's other single varietals, which include Dabinett and Brown Snout, were being supplied to only a handful of regional outlets. Great Taste changed that - since the results were announced, Apple County Cider Co has secured a distribution deal with Buckley & Beale, and a listing in B Street Deli in Bermondsey, London, as well as attracting the attention of importers in Denmark and the Netherlands.
Hanan Sumara is a an Iraqi-born British Palestinian living in London, where her family settled in 1969 having had to flee from Iraq. They had already had to leave Palestine in 1948. Coming from such a diverse Middle Eastern background, Hanan has always been passionate about the foods of her homeland, heavily influenced by her mother's cooking. She established Terra Rossa 10 years ago, often travelling to the Middle East to source new ingredients and flavours.
The name comes from the fertile Green Crescent, which covers Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and is home to some of the oldest olive trees in the world, planted in the "terra fossa", or red soil. With a Mediterraean climate, it has the perfect growing conditions for olives, vines and citrus.
Terra Rossa also produces its own range of sauces, relishes and dips, including Baba's Rashi & Dibis, a tahini and date molasses spread, and Sumac Citrus Berry. Fresh and zingy, sumac is used where you could use lemon and adds a citrus kick to grilled meats and salads. These are products you won't find on any street corner!
With Middle Eastern food fast becoming one of the biggest food trends this year, Terra Rossa is a treasure trove of wonderful, authentic ingredients.