Nominations for the award are taken in summer every year, with one winner from each of the UK’s 15 National Parks this year being presented with a bottle of English sparkling wine from Ridgeview Estate in the South Downs National Park.
The New Forest Marque is a membership organisation supporting and promoting local producers and the hospitality and retail businesses that offer this produce. The New Forest Marque is awarded to produce which has been grown, reared, caught, brewed, produced or processed with the New Forest. Its 151 members include meat producers, bakers, brewers, growers and craft producers, as well as B&Bs, hotels, tearooms, pubs, restaurants and independent retailers.
It is also a provenance assurance scheme that promotes authentic New Forest fare, while encouraging people to shop locally and is supported by the New Forest National Park Authority.
New Forest Marque Chairman, Jane Overall, said: ‘I am honoured to have received this award as I feel privileged to have the opportunity to help and support such a wonderful group of members and this has only been possible with the support of the New Forest Marque team, my fellow Directors and the New Forest National Park Authority.’
New Forest Marque Operations Manager, Claire Lee, said: ‘We would like to encourage everyone to buy local, especially this Christmas when many of our members will be selling some fantastic festive produce. We are thrilled that membership numbers are increasing and demand for local produce is also on the up. We are proud to showcase what our members do and how important the Forest is for local businesses.
‘I am delighted that Jane has won the National Parks Hero Award 2017 for the New Forest. Jane’s passion for her work is demonstrated by her support for those starting out in business and her championing of enterprises that showcase Forest produce.’
This Christmas please help support local producers in the National Park and buy New Forest Marque produce. The New Forest Christmas Fair is at Exbury Gardens on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December 2017. Entrance is £2 for adults and free for children. Dogs are welcome and parking is free. The fair is open from 10am until 4pm.