Huntly Herbs into finals of nationwide contest to find the best organic products
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A ONE woman business has reached the finals of a nationwide competition to find the best organic food and drink products.
Huntly Herbs, is a finalist in the BOOM, Best of Organic Market, awards with its hot lemon relish - hand made in a small production kitchen at Whitestones, Gartly by Anna Wilson.
Hopes are high for the product which has twice won a Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Award and was highly commended in the Organic Food Awards.
Huntly Herbs was founded in 1999 by Anna's late mum, Fiona and has evolved over the years to produce a range of over 30 preserves and relishes.
In 2021, it has begun a return to its origins and is now also selling organic herbs and is awaiting certification of them as organic by the Soil Association.
In the past year, the business, built around selling its products at farmer's markets and specialist outlets across the north east has switched to an exclusively online shop.
The awards celebrate excellence across organic production. Judges blind tested over 500 entries from food to beauty products.
A spokesman said: "Our organic food and drink product awards showcase the absolute best of what’s possible to offer the UK public from the world of organic, specifically relating to taste and quality."
For Anna, reaching the finalist stage is particularly satisfying as the judging is entirely based on taste.
She said: "It's not about branding, packaging or the sales spiel, it's entirely how the relish tastes that has earned us this place.
"The relish recipe was developed almost by chance. It was back in 2009 and I was trying to make lime pickle but that didn't go well and from that came the relish.
"All our preserves are cooked by hand to our own recipes in small batches to preserve as much flavour as possible. "
The Lemon Relish is listed in the store cupboard ingredients category and is competing against everything from honey to chocolate spread.
Anna added:"I am really pleased that we have got this far. I really am a one woman business with some family help so feel it is quite an achievement."
Huntly Herbs has had success nationally before - in 2013, its best seller raspberry jam won silver at the World Jampionships and in 2020 they were finalists in the Artisan Producer category of the Scottish Rural Awards.
n Huntly Herbs is one of the businesses taking part in the Fiver Fest initiative - turn to page 3 to read more about the campaign to promote shopping locally.