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Branching out gives pub top award hope
A PUB that specialises in organic produce has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
Helen Browning at the Royal Oak, which is based in Bishop-stone, is down to the final five in the caterers and good pubs category in the RSPCA’s Good Business Awards.
Helen, along with Tim Finney, have been running the Arkells-owned pub for the last six years and also run Eastbrook Farm and Helen Browning’s Organic.
Tim said: “The award is for the pub but it is linked directly to the farm, that is what the RSPCA seem to love.
“The RSPCA is looking for examples of where businesses, like ours, are extremely careful and open about where they source their meat and dairy ingredients for their customers.
“I don’t know anything about the other entries, but I suspect the RSPCA like us because 99 per cent of the meat we sell here, and the milk, eggs and anything else of animal origin, is from organic sources.
“Most of it is from our own farm. It is quite simple. It is not simple to achieve, but it is simple to describe. “We have been farming organically here since 1986.”
Helen, 50, and Tim, 55, specialise in pork, beef and veal.
The couple decided to take on the pub when they were having drinks there more than six years ago.
“It was about to come up to let and we thought about it for a couple of days. We thought the village might appreciate a better pub,” said Tim.
“We had a list of 50 things we wanted to do with it and we are about half way through. We have better food and cleaner beers.
“We will be looking at providing better accommodation this winter. One of our ambitions was to start a village shop and we haven’t achieved that yet.”
The pub is in the middle of the farm and Tim said he thinks that is part of their appeal.
The awards recognise the food and fashion companies with the best animal welfare policies, and in particular those who are trying to improve and develop their practices in this area.
The couple are keeping their fingers crossed for success in the competition and will find out the results next month.
“If you are running a business, the more your peers recognise you are doing a good job the better it is for business. You can’t win enough awards or gongs,” said Tim.
For more details visit www.helenbrowningsorganic.co.uk