Jon Watson, owner of Heritage Meats based at Yew Tree Farm, Coniston, has just discovered (Friday 29th October) that he has won two prestigious national awards in the 2021 Great British Food Awards.

Cumbrian farmer and food producer Jon operates his butchery and online shop from Yew Tree Farm, a picturesque working Lakeland Hill farm spread over seven hundred acres of herb rich pasture and rugged fell, set against a backdrop of the Lakeland’s Yewdale Valley.

The farm specialises in Herdwick Hogget, Herdwick Mutton and Belted Galloway Beef, which is something former owner, renowned children’s author, and advocate of all things Herdwick, Beatrix Potter would greatly appreciate, especially having won many an award for Herdwicks herself.

John Pallagi, multi-award-winning butcher, and co-founder of Farmison & Co. awarded the Coniston based farmer with the overall award for the Lamb Category, recognising the outstanding quality of Jon’s Lake District farmed reared Shoulder of Hogget. Commenting: ”This was a generous 3kg joint that came with an extremely good layer of fat. Packaging and labelling clearly identified the breed and provided cooking instructions. I choose to cook it long and slow for around 5 hours, keeping the cooking method simple and with only the addition of a stock and herb base. The end result was a vast amount of meat that was super tender and fell away from the bone with ease. With regards to taste, the hogget was full of flavour and produced noticeable herbal notes. A real pleasure to eat.”

Alongside that Jon also discovered that the business had also been recognised as best in the North of England region too, piping businesses from Lancashire, Yorkshire, Northumbria, Derbyshire, and Cheshire to the top spot. This category was judged by Dani Redd, Great British Food Editor and Holly Shackleton Acting Group Editor, who commented: ”We were impressed by their commitment to sustainable livestock rearing, and the championing of this indigenous, slow-reared sheep, whose tender meat has become a national delicacy. The hogget was particularly full-flavoured!”

The Great British Food Awards now in their seventh year, launched in 2014, to celebrate the country’s finest home-grown ingredients, as well as the diligent folk who produce and cook with them covering everything from dairy, cheese, meats, artisan drinks right through to savoury preserves.